I hope everyone already keeps a Reading Journal. What is that you say? Everytime you read a book you write down the author and title and a sentence or two of description so that you know what the book was about and whether you liked it or not. Over time you may want to know if you read a certain book or not and can refer to your journal.
I used to keep a three ring binder for my journal. Each page had author, title, genre, sub-genre, who else could be read if I liked this work, a list of characters, usually two or three paragraphs of plot and analysis of plot and characters, and on and on. It got to be such a chore that I dreaded making an entry and gradually stopped. Next I tried to keep a list of only author and title. That was wonderfully short and sweet but told me nothing about the book or whether I liked it or not. So on to Plan C. I invested in a Journal purchased at a local bookstore. Each page is lined and gives me enough room to write anything I want. When I am ready to begin a new entry I leave a few lines empty and start writing.
Most of my entries now are author and title plus a brief plot summary. I try to include a genre but usually my current reading is in the Mystery genre so I can skip that. I try to list a read-alike author but that is because it helps me as a Librarian who does a lot of Reader’s Advisory work with customers, friends and family. Having said that there are still authors that requre more commentary than a sentence or two. The authors are not necessarily my favorites. If something strikes me as worthy of comment I start writing and who knows where I might end. When i go back I find that I analyzed the plot and characters so well that I can remember the book.
I use my Reading Journal for making lists that you may find in the RATS (Reader’s Advisory Team Services) annual booklet “What To Read Next” or when I compile a list of good books for a customer who likes Mysteries dealing with Forensics or Classic Mysteries or Puzzle Mysteries or whatever. For everyone else the Jouranl is a way to help you remember what you have read and what you want to read. It helps you keep track of what books are in a series and which ones you have read. This is for everyone who takes home a book and realizes after ten pages or so that you have read the book already. It is also fascinating to see how much you have read over time and what you read. Good reading, everyone, and please keep a journal.