I’m taking a new approach to tracking the books I read this year! I’m slowly filling a dot grid notebook in the bullet journal style. I’ve made spreads to track my titles, monthly summaries, audio vs. print, how much my library saves me every year, and book reviews. I thought I’d share some photos here today and the reason why I created my own notebook rather than buy a pre-made one (because there are so many pre-made ones available).
There is a lot of inspiration available on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram by searching ‘Reading Journal.’ I watched a ton of videos before I had the courage to start marking up my new notebook. I encourage anyone who wants to create their own journal to consider all the things they would like to track, then set it up in your own style.
Last year, I read over 100 books. Tbh, some of them, I can’t remember very well. Yesterday, I had this fragment of a plot line pop into my head and it took me forever to remember what book that was from. For context, I’ve been watching the tv show that we’re all watching – The Last of Us – and it reminded me of this plot line: two young people walking across a post-apocalyptic city and there were lions (zoo escapees). Terrifying. (fyi, the book is: All That’s Left in the World)
I think having a way to track my books, tangibly, in addition to digitally tracking them on StoryGraph, might help me remember them better. Writing things down has helped me remember things better in other areas. Have you heard this saying, “The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory.”?
In 2022, I had a beautiful book planner. It had monthly calendars for planning and all sorts of tracking pages for everything. What I loved most, though, was the tracking. I didn’t end up using the monthly and weekly spreads and that so it felt like I was only using half of it. It was also not inexpensive.
To start, I used a set of cream dot grid notebooks from Amazon, A5 sized. This way I have extras to use when this one fills up. I used printables from Kelly Bangs Creative (the Noteworthy line) to decorate many of the pages. The inside cover has a permission slip on a library card. This is where I gave myself permission to read what I want, etc. The opposite page is an opening title page. I think it turned out so cute. After that, the following page (above) shows my reading goals for the year, and a fun quote on the other side (below).
The following double page spread, below, is my daily reading log. For this page, I fill in a 1×4 grid box for each day that I read at least one page of a book. This is a fun one to fill out! Every January, the StoryGraph app has a January challenge to read every day. That challenge, plus starting the month with several 5-star reads, kept me going all month.
The above page is my Main Reading List. I have a pretty dashboard-type layout on the left, and the right (not entirely shown) is where I write all my titles. I used a grey highlighter to fill every other row to make it easier to look at. The next page behind the written one is the same. I can list about 60 books on both pages before I’ll need to make a new layout. You can see a peek at it in the below photo.
This is the end of part one. I will upload part two shortly.