13 March 2010

Keeping a reading journal

In its continual quest to Madoff my life, the manufacturer of Moleskine has come out with a "Book Journal" where you can record the books you've read, memorable quotes and so on -- information I gleaned from watching the winsome advertisement (of course there is).

I used to keep a notebook like this every year and it was very useful. My DIY notebook looked like this: A new page for every book; title on the top line with author beneath; started/finished dates and below that, my review. Typically I would use a notebook around 3.5"x5" which allows for limited space to make notes, but enough for a few sentences.

But here's the trick: You have to carry it around with you all the time, otherwise you will stop writing your reviews, stop adding to your to-read list (and not have it with you in bookstores!) and end up writing your book matter on any old scrap of paper or the biggest scrap of all, the Internet. It wasn't the notebooks' fault, I just fell out of the habit.

Even if you don't plan on keeping any kind of reading journal (much less a blog!) you should definitely have a list of the books you've read. You are doing that, right? It's early enough in the year that you can catch up for 2010. Just open a Word doc right now; allow 3-6 months for accomplishment.


Pour of Tor said...

Boy, how many brilliant (I'm sure) scribblings about books or museum exhibits or plays have I lost after scribbling them down on the back of some ticket or program or piece of scrap paper in the absence of my "reading journal." Sigh. And even when they do make it into one of several journals, I can never quite remember that I put them there. It has gotten to the point where if I don't blog about it, I don't really remember having done it, and I don't have time to blog about everything I want to remember!

Neil said...

I have a whole folder of Excel files for strictly that purpose. And one for movies seen, too.