How to Make a Favorite Book Journal

Book notes (in M.G. Lewis' The Monk)
Book notes (in M.G. Lewis' The Monk) | Source

Making Your Own Book Journals

I have never personally kept a book journal but it's something I have always wanted to do. I have this "problem" where I tend to keep my notes in my books, making a mess of the pages as all of the margins become littered with my handwriting and the text gets underlined, circled, and highlighted. It gets worse the more I read that same book over and over, turning the book itself into a journal of sorts. The book to the right is an example of this but that's how it looks after just one reading so far.

This habit of mine is really great when I reread books because I can see my thoughts through my previous readings, but, keeping an actual book journal with all thoughts in one place is the best way for avid readers like myself to actually stay organized and keep track of what they've read and even what they want to read. In addition, all my notes make some of my books impossible to loan to a friend. Writing all over them is also not always possible for all of my books, considering some are limited edition copies that are more sacred than my favorite pair of heels. In these instances especially, making a favorite book journal is essential.

When we were younger, my sister and I kept what we called our "Quote Book" full of favorite quotes from all the books we read but that's the closest thing we came to journaling. When it comes to keeping a favorite book journal, it's a little more complicated than just writing down quotes, but it's all up to you and what kind of information you want to keep a record of.

Here are a few examples of the kinds of information to keep in a book journal:

  • Reading lists
  • Quotes
  • Thoughts/reactions
  • Questions while reading
  • New words and definitions
  • Sketches, pictures, other relevant decorations
  • When you started/finished the book
  • Your review of the book

Do you keep a journal?

Do you keep a book journal?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not yet
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How to Make a Reading Journal

The easiest way to get started with a book journal is to buy one. You can buy just a plain old journal and write what you want in it or you can buy a journal actually made for keeping track of your favorite books. Some journals that are made specifically for book journaling actually include things like book recommendations and bookmarks. Even plain old composition books or notebooks work well. They're probably the cheapest route, too, if you're looking to save a few bucks.

Making your own journal is great because you can make it even more personal. Yes, you can glue stuff to and draw on any of the journals you buy but actually putting the thing together with your own two hands makes it a little extra special. There are a wide variety of ways to put together a journal. I chose the one shown in the video below because, even though it's for a sketch book, it can easily be done for a journal as well. Coptic binding is something that I learned in a book making class in college. It's easy once you get the hang of it and it looks really snazzy once the project is finished.

Coptic Binding for Making a Book Journal

© 2012 LisaKoski

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Comments 3 comments

Mellyunplugged profile image

Mellyunplugged 4 years ago from India

Good One !! Remembered my school/college days where all my textbooks were in a mess. After college days, all my books are neatly kept though...may be because there is no need to read it again ;) Anyway, a great article and I loved reading it.


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 4 years ago from United States

This is an excellent idea if you are interested in working on a longer project in the future based on a topic. I did think during my graduate degree so I could keep track of all my thoughts and ideas about a book.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

What a great idea for book journaling. I, like you, write all over my books and highlight as well. This is a much better idea as your say. Thanks for an interesting and informative article!

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