For the last couple of years, one of my new year’s resolutions has been to read one book a month. I don’t set a page requirement or force myself to read from different genres. I read books I want to read.
I started doing this in graduate school when I realized academic reading was turning into a chore. To get myself recharged and engaged in what I was doing, I had to take some time out for myself. Reading for me is a huge pleasure. The last thing I wanted to associate with it was work.
The first book I ever read in full was Sarah, Plain and Tall; it hooked me. Just a couple of years later, Harry Potter hooked me on reading for life.
Lately I’ve realized that I haven’t kept any sort of list of the books I’ve read and what they have meant to me. Inspired by the bullet journals I’ve seen online, I decided to make a journal documenting the books I’ve read with illustrations and quotes that made the memorable for me.
Without further ado, here is a brief tutorial on how to make and write a reading journal.
Dual Brush Pens
Black Calligraphy Pen
Step 1: Take the ruler and draw a diagonal line down the back of the first page of the notebook.
Step 2: Write out January along the line with your pencil.
Side Note: I messed up so many times writing things out and drawing my illustrations. Having the option to erase what I didn’t like saved me MANY times!
You can draw the word yourself, use stamps or stickers. I chose to write out January in cursive bubble letters.
Step 3: Divide the page into grids. Write down the title and author’s name of the book (or books) you have read for that month. In January, I was able to read three books (you’ll see I only read one in February and so far none in March!) so I tried to write about each of them in a different way. Here is a quick look at the first box:
Side Note: It was important to me to use different fonts for each book, as seen below. You’ll see February’s book too!
Step 4: After I wrote down the titles and made the illustrations, I traced over the pencil with a calligraphy pen and the dual brush pens. I colored in the illustrations with the colored pencils.
Step 5: Below the titles, I copied down my favorite quotes from the books or wrote down my final thoughts on the plot. The numbers included are graded 1-10, with 10 being the best grade and 1 the worst. So far, I’ve been really enjoying the books I’ve been reading!
I had a lot of fun with this project. By not taking myself too seriously, such as making sure the drawings were perfect or obsessing over the pink smudge in the lower right (I’m left-handed, I ALWAYS smudge!) I was able to get into the project and really just relax. It’s going to be a project I do every month, and it’s a helpful way to track what I’ve read.
I did not finish either book I started in March, but I have read one for April!
I’ve also begun keeping a list of books I would like to read for the following month; I find it helps me keep my reading goals.