This post is all about starting a reading journal and includes a variety of book journal ideas.
If you love to read but struggle to fit it into your routine, a book journal may be just the thing you need.
Reading and journaling are truly the perfect pair. They have a funny way of motivating you to do more of both!
Stick around because I have a few book journal ideas up my sleeve that I’m excited to share with you.
A reading journal isn’t hard to put together and can help you achieve (and even surpass) your reading goals this year.
What Is a Book Journal?
Whether you already spend hours each week immersed in a good book or you’re looking for a fun way to read on a regular basis, a book journal is an excellent way to document your journey.
Also known as a reading journal, it can be just about anything you want it to be. In general, this type of journal is used to:
- Keep track of books that you read
- Jot down books you want to read (or want to finish reading)
- Track a series you’re reading through
- Record your own personal book review
- Reflect on the characters, setting, or plot
The idea is to tailor it to your unique style.
Your journal. Your rules!
Why You Should Consider Keeping a Reading Journal
I don’t know about you, but I love a quiet slice of “me time.” But at the same time, I don’t like being UNproductive or should I say, idle.
Keeping a reading journal provides the best of both worlds. You get rest (and maybe some peace and quiet if you’re lucky), but you’re also exercising your mind.
The benefits of book journals don’t end there though.
They essentially force you to focus more and retain what you read. They encourage mindful concentration and contemplation.
Without even trying, you’re building a skill that can positively impact all areas of your life.
10 Book Journal Ideas to Kick Your Reading Up a Notch
“Ok, so a reading journal is a good thing, but what do you even put in a book journal?”
I hear you. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, but no worries! I have some reading journal ideas I think you’re going to love.
As with anything else in life, when you first get started, it may take some time to figure out your groove.
What you include in your reading journal will depend on how you want to use it.
For instance, you could make your reading journal double as your monthly calendar. If you want to get serious about reading on a regular basis, this type of setup may be right up your alley.
Likewise, if you don’t want to have multiple journals, you may want to create a bullet reading journal that can help you organize various areas of your life (where reading is just one section).
For more ideas, I’ve gathered a few reading journal layouts and ideas to help you get started.
Let’s dig in!
1. Create a Reading Bucket List
Have you ever been out shopping or talking with a friend and heard of a book that seems perfect for you?
Inspiration can strike anywhere. It happens all the time:
The inspiration hits. You tell yourself you’ll circle back to it as soon as you finish your current book, but then it slips your mind, and that perfect title is lost forever in Forgotten Land.
Since there’s an entire world of wonderful books out there, something as simple as a “books to read” page in your journal can help you remember interesting titles.
2. Record Your Thoughts, Notes, and Reflections as You Read
Book journaling is a great way to reflect on the books you read as you read them. You don’t have to wait until the book is finished to add your thoughts or make notes.
Instead, you can journal your way through, recording your thoughts as the story develops.
In fact, this type of journaling is an excellent way to dig deeper into a book because you can pause and really contemplate the character development and record your own feelings as the plot unfolds.
3. Keep a Log of the Books You Read
It probably goes without saying, but a reading journal is the perfect way to track the books you read.
If you read a lot, you know how easy it is to lose track of what you’ve read, especially the books you started but didn’t quite finish for some reason.
With a reading tracker, you can simply record the book title or even include information such as the author and date started.
You might also consider a notes section, which can help you decide if you want to read similar books or explore more by the same author.
4. Plan an Annual Spread & Utilize a Timeline
Is there a particular type of book you like to read? Maybe you love history, non-fiction, or romance novels.
Whatever your preference, you can create a reading journal with a plan for an annual spread.
The word “spread” is just a term used for a section within your journal. So for this idea, you would use a year-at-a-glance calendar and pencil in a reading plan for the year.
I say pencil because plans change. You don’t want your reading journal to become a stressful, deadline-type thing.
5. Compile a Book Recommendation Page from Friends & Family
Do you get a lot of book recommendations from friends, family, and coworkers?
When people know you like to read, chances are they openly share what they’re reading, too.
A page in your journal that’s dedicated to book recommendations makes it easy to keep track of reading suggestions.
When you’re ready to grab a new book, you’ll have a wonderful, pre-vetted selection to choose from.
6. Incorporate a Review Section (& Unleash Your Inner Book Critic)
Ever find yourself trying to explain a book to someone only to elicit a blank stare? That kind of conversation usually ends with, “Well, you just have to read it yourself.”
Why not sharpen your book review skills with a “review” type section?
Trust me on this. It’s such a fun, creative outlet to critique a book without the intimidation factor of someone critiquing your critique!
That’s the beautiful thing about journals. They are for your eyes only and free from all judgment.
7. Branch Out with a Book Club Spread
Do you belong to a book club? Or maybe you’ve thought of starting one?
A book club is a wonderful way to share your love of reading with others, and it’s always fun to see things from another’s perspective.
So try adding a book club spread to your reading journal where you can record notes during meetings.
You can make sections for each book you read and include details about your book club gatherings as well as insights from other club members.
8. Create a List of “Reading Challenge” Goals
Do you ever set reading goals for yourself? Maybe you want to read a certain number of books each year or even every month?
A reading challenge can help you meet those reading goals like clockwork.
How you design or set up a goals page is completely up to you. It can be as simple as a list or as elaborate as a hand drawn bookcase where you color in books as you read.
Speaking of which, if you’re the artsy type, take a look at these art journal ideas. They are lovely!
9. Use Reading Journal Prompts if You Get Stuck
Sometimes we all get a case of writer’s block. That blank page can feel intimidating when you’re stuck for ideas.
If you’re struggling to find something to add to your reading journal, consider using journal prompts. Such prompts can kickstart your journaling and be a lot of fun!
10. Set Up a Book Series Tracker
If you’re like many of us, you’ve probably read the first book in a series and by the time the next book is released, you’ve forgotten the most important points from the first book.
A bullet journal book tracker is an excellent way to refresh your memory before moving on to the next book in a series.
Like several of the other book journal ideas I’ve mentioned, you can arrange it however you want.
For instance, you can keep a timeline of the important events in each book to help you chronicle important points.
Then again, you could just write a short summary. This method is great for putting you back in the right frame of mind to pick up where you left off in any given series.
Ready to Start Your Very Own Book Journal?
If you’re ready to get started, you’ll need some type of paper. This could be a notebook, composition book, a special journal, or even a stack of papers stapled together.
You may also want a selection of pens in different colors or with different tips, especially if you want to decorate your journal pages.
If you really want to jazz things up, you may want to also gather stickers, stencils, washi tape, and such.
But really, plain ole pen and paper is all you need to get started with a reading journal.
Next, you need to think through how you want to set up a book journal that suits your personal style.
You can choose a bullet journal for fast, easy entries or dedicate pages for book spreads. You can add page titles, weave in designs, or just leave them blank for a true diary-style journal.
When it comes down to it, what to write in a book journal is completely up to you.
There is no right or wrong way to approach it. The important thing is to just have fun and enjoy your reading journal!