I’ve kept journals for as long as I’ve been able to write! It’s satisfying to put my thoughts into an elegant notebook. By sheer persistence I filled a shelf with notebooks of all sizes and colors. Flipping through the pages, I encounter myself in different stages of my life. These can be difficult times, calm times, creative times.
Since my journals tend to be wordy, it took me a while to get the hang of bullet journaling. It did not seem a good fit, considering the details I’m used to recording. Something changed this year. Perhaps it was the sense that, with the pandemic, it’s been a dull world; this pushed me to try new things.
I wanted to use colorful marker pens; I wanted to draw and use washi tape. Keeping a traditional diary is therapeutic, but the bullet journal gave me a way to learn new skills.
I’m still getting the hang of it; my journal is nothing close to the things you see on Pinterest! I have found some fun ways to use it as a reading journal. As I figure out which methods work for me, I’ll share them with you.
The Bookshelf Drawing
I have to admit that the popular practice of drawing books to represent the real shelf is what attracted me to this form of diary.
I’ve seen really creative shelf sketches with bears, flower pots, and paintings on a shelf. My shelf drawing was much plainer. I still enjoy filling in the colors of book spines when I finish reading them!
If you’re not an artist but want to have a reading tracker, I found this excellent print on Etsy! Isn’t it adorable? It’s full of color and personality; seller britishbookart is very talented!
What is the ratio of genres that I enjoy? Do I read more Mystery than Romance? As a writer, I would find it useful to see which genre I ‘know’ most about—it’d help me find my strengths and craft better stories.
Bullet journaling offers a great way to track habits such as study time, outdoor time, or tracking the glasses of water taken daily. In a like manner, I’ve made a genre tracker.
I keep my genres general—Romance, Mystery, Self-Help. Under Mystery I gather all of the “subgenres” like historical mystery or murder mystery, making the tracker quite simple. According to my BuJo right now, right now I’m I enjoying Mystery and Romance more than Fantasy–but that could always change!
Goodreads is a great place to save your favorite quotes from books, but my eyes are really sensitive to light. Unless I’m writing or blogging, I try to avoid computer screens; my phone light is really low.
For this reason, I prefer to keep my quotes on a page I can read comfortably.
You can make a “quote dump” page to gather these words of wisdom, or record them on the “sidebars” of your daily spreads. I’ve done a bit of both!
I’m crazy about this spread by She Doodles on Instagram; they can be used for words of encouragement, but also to keep track of quotes. It’s minimalist but catches the eye!
For the same reason stated above—my eyes are sensitive to light—I don’t use Goodreads to keep track of books.
Considering all of the eBooks on my Kindle, it’s easy for me to lose track of what I have to read when I can’t see them visually!
I printed out the covers of books I haven’t read yet and glued them into my bullet journal, trying to sort them by genre. I have my section on nature books, mystery/thriller, classics…it’s a bit of work, but when you see the books collected, the work is worthwhile!
Here’s a glimpse into my own journal! You can tell I’m a fan of historical romance!
I don’t post all of my reviews online, but I read quite a bit. I want to record my thoughts on each book so that I can reflect on them later. I reserved several pages in my BuJo with blue “tabs” on the edge. That way, I can easily find my personal book reviews.
It’s nothing special—I note the title, the day I finished reading, and up to three paragraphs of reflections. These are useful, because my reviews help me revisit them!
There are other fun ways to use a BuJo for reading. I’m eager to learn more as I continue this wonderful hobby! If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them!