Here at Once Upon a Book Club, we are self-confessed book lovers and nerds. We love everything bookish. We've noticed that people who love books tend to be stationary lovers as well – we always seem to have an endless supply of pens and pencils, and let's not even start on journals; we love them! Passing a book or stationery store without popping in seems like a crime.
Keeping track of all our favorite books is something we love to do, and creating a book journal is another one of our great joys. It's like a diary for all the literary journeys we've been on, and it's a great way to keep all those stories and characters alive.
So, how do you set up a book journal? It's easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy!
Finding The Perfect Journal
The first step is choosing the perfect journal for tracking your reading. Did we mention how we love stationery shopping? You can choose any type of journal – blank pages for those of you who can write straight, one with lines, or our favorite, a bullet journal. As long as it fits into your bag and you love it, you've found the ideal one.
The Perfect Setup
Now for part one of the fun, it's time to set up and create those literary journey pages. The first page is great to create, all your book needs is its own perfectly dramatic title, and you can even add a quote or personal message to inspire yourself. Don't forget to include the date you're starting – there is something quite wonderful about going back in time and seeing where you were a year or two ago. Now that you are feeling inspired, it's time to create different sections for tracking your reading and what is important to you. Here are a few ideas:
- A bookshelf page where you can list all the books you want to read
- A page for tracking your progress
- A page for writing book reviews or reflections
- A section for your favorite quotes or passages
- A section for random thoughts and doodles
Start Tracking Your Reading
Now that your journal is set up, grab a new book and start tracking. Whenever you start a new book, simply note down the title, author, and date you started reading it on your bookshelf page. As you read, you can use the progress tracker to mark your progress – use whatever system works for you; for example, you could use a simple checkmark to indicate that you've finished a chapter, or you could use a rating system to rate the book once you've finished it.
Think of your book journal as a living document; you will find what works and what doesn't and refine it over time!
Book reviews and reflections
One of the great things about a book journal is that it gives you a space to reflect on your reading. We love grabbing a glass of wine and taking some important time out to reflect and review. You can write about what you liked and didn't like about the book, how it made you feel, or what you learned from it. Or perhaps you have just found a new destination that needs to be added to your bucket list.
Quotes and Passages
Another fun way to use your book journal is to add your favorite quotes or passages from the books you read. Whenever you come across a quote that speaks to you, write it down in your journal, as who knows when you will need a little bit of inspiration. We love making notes of those funny lines or great comebacks – there's nothing wrong with sneaking off to the ladies to find a comeback for your kids, husband, dog, cat, or mother-in-law!
Keep It Up!
Finally, the most important step in setting up a book journal is to keep it up! Make sure to update it regularly and use it as a tool to help you stay motivated and engaged about reading. Your book journal is a personal space for you to reflect on your reading journey, and it should be inspirational and fun. We are sure you can't wait to get started. We are starting to feel that journal-shopping urge rearing its head again.
Now that we've set up our incredible book journal let's talk about why reading is so flippin' awesome and why we should never stop reading! (Just in case you need some motivation to read more.)
It Makes You Smarter
Reading is like a workout for your brain – yes, booksercize time. It challenges you to think critically, expands your knowledge, and can even improve your memory. When you read, your brain is forced to process new information and make connections with what you already know, which helps develop analytical skills, vocabulary, and overall intelligence. In fact, studies have shown that people who read regularly have higher cognitive abilities and are better able to concentrate and focus – and here you thought reading was just fun!
It Boosts Your Creativity
Reading sparks your imagination, helps you think outside the box, and come up with new and exciting ideas. When you read, you are exposed to different perspectives, cultures, and ideas that you probably wouldn't have otherwise encountered. Reading also helps hone your own writing skills by exposing you to different writing styles and techniques. So, whether you're an artist, entrepreneur, or just someone who loves to brainstorm, reading is always a great source of inspiration.
It's a Cheap Form of Entertainment
Let's face it – going to the movies or out to dinner can be expensive. But reading is a cheap and fun way to escape from reality for a little while. You can find books at your local library, buy them used for a fraction of the cost, or even borrow them from friends. Or join the ultimate book club; we have a fabulous one we can recommend. And the best part is, you can do it anywhere, anytime – on the beach, in a park, or even in the bathtub!
Seeing The World Through The Eyes of Others
When you read, you get to see the world through someone else's eyes. You get to experience their joys and struggles, which goes a long way to helping you understand them better and become more empathetic. This is especially true when you read books that are outside of your comfort zone or that challenge your assumptions. Reading makes us think, and these days, it seems like lots of people have forgotten how.
It's Just Plain Fun!
Reading is one of life's greatest pleasures. It's like going on an adventure without ever leaving your house. You get to meet new people, visit new places, and learn new things – all from the comfort of your favorite spot. And the best part is, there's a book out there for everyone! Whether you love romance, mystery, science fiction, or historical fiction, there's a book out there that's sure to capture your imagination.
We think R.R. Martin phrased it perfectly - "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one."