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How to Keep a Reading Journal

A reading or book journal can be a great way to record your thoughts and progress on reading books.  Book clubs and other get togethers can be a fantastic way to interact with people about the same books, as well.  Here are a few tips:

  1.  I have a journal that I use exclusively for book reviews, thoughts, and goals for future readings.  I find that it helps to centralize my thoughts into one location.  (Of course, I love making journals, so I have about five that I write in each week!)
  2. Record the date, the title and the page number at the top.
  3. I like to chat about what is going on as I’m reading the book.  Am I on vacation?  Did I just have another Kickstarter campaign?  What volunteer work am I doing at the time?  I find that my current projects sometimes color the book that I’m reviewing.
  4. Discuss the book themes and main characters.  Did you like them as people?  One of the current themes that I’m not liking is the bad things happen to women and then they go all karate/judo and get revenge.  Is it a trope that bad things happen and then women need to be rescued or get revenge?  Perhaps too much video game plotting is seeping into books, just a thought.
  5. Talk about where the novel is located.  Is it in space, Earth, or in a mine?  Was the world building appropriate?  I remember a romance that I read many, many years ago where it was located in a city where I had spent much time there.  (Port Townsend) The location seemed like a generic small town and not once did they mention the very large tourist/shopping area.  This was before the age of google, but couldn’t they at least pick a tourism brochure and make sure that it mentioned a few landmarks?  Or even that there is a large fishing fleet harbored there?
  6. How did you acquire the book?  Gift, bookstore, book club?
  7. Did you like the resolution?  Would have made different choices?
  8. Is it difficult to believe the character could actually do those things?  This is a problem in multi book series in science fiction and fantasy.  All characters grow during the course of the books, but in those genres, the authors are compelled to give them new abilities and powers that don’t seem reasonable.  For instance, a poor magician suddenly finds out that he has magic beans and that he can stop nuclear blasts.  A space ship is given a over haul and can suddenly travel to new galaxies overnight.  Did the author actually layout a reasonable process for those new powers/abilities?
  9. Was it a predictable read or not?  Was that a good thing or not?
  10. Is this a book that you would recommend to others?

Is there anything else that you would add to this list?  Your reading journal is about you and the books that you read, make sure that is included in your entries.

Feel free to add suggestions in the comments!