There are a ton of places to record our reading online, from Goodreads to Litsy to Reco to non-reading-specific apps like Li.st.
Some of us still love pen and paper, though — and as a writer myself, I bristle at the thought of posting anything less than glowing publicly lest the author see it. Yet I still love to go back and see what my impressions of books were straight after I finished reading them. I could, of course, use one of the multiple plain notebooks I already have. But I could also treat myself to one of these journals, and I bet someone in your life would love one too.
I love Moleskines, so I was very excited when I discovered this. It’s organised alphabetically, address-book style, and each entry has space for basic details like year of publication and any awards the book has received, as well as a bigger one for quotes and general notes, plus a star rating. There are also six sections at the back which you can personalise using the many (200+!) stickers they provide, maybe for lists of books you want to read or have lent out or borrowed or to keep track of author events.
This one isn’t really a journal as such. It organises your books in a different way: in (you’ve guessed it) lists. Every other page has a title like “Books that Made Me Cry”, “Authors Whose Lives Fascinate Me!”, or “Books that Taught Me Something”, and you can keep track and update the lists over the years. Facing each list is a lovely bookish illustration. I got this for my birthday last year and I love it.
Judging by the Amazon reviews, the Book Lover’s Journal is a real crowd pleaser, and that’s not surprising — the designers seem to have thought of everything. It has space for very detailed notes on each book, like the basic information of which genre it is and how many pages it has, but also ratings from one to ten on everything from plot to ease of reading to quality of writing. My favourite feature might be the slot for whether you’d recommend the book and to whom. There’s also a section to record where you get your books, including any necessary user names, passwords, and account numbers; a section for books you’ve borrowed, lent, given, and want to give; a section for your “life in books” with spaces for lists like your childhood favourites or book sites you like.
The Bookworm Journal would make a great gift for children at the beginning on their reading journeys. There’s space for kids and parents to rate the book separately and for children to say whether they read, read and listened, or just listened. It’s also super cute and packed with activities like word searches, places to list new words they’ve learned from books (why don’t adult book journals have this feature?), and prompts for writing their own stories.
A new kid on the block, this one has a fun inside design, and prompts like the one for readers to not only record who their favourite characters are but also why they connected with them. It also encourages teens to post their photos to Instagram and other social media. This journal seems like it would be fun to fill with sketches and colours for the perfect social media post.
At just 4 x 5.1 inches, this little journal fits in your handbag easily, alongside the book you presumably always have with you. It also has simplicity going for it, with each review page featuring just author, title, date, and a few lines for the reader’s thoughts. It’s not lacking in the extra pages to fill in, though, on things like favourite places to sit with a good book or quotes to remember.
This journal has only been around since September, so there’s a good chance that the person you’re buying it for doesn’t already have it — or that they’ll soon need another anyway. (It’s designed with romance and erotica readers in mind, and they have a well-earned reputation for being prolific readers.) There are quotes from the genres throughout, as well as sections for favourite covers, book music, keeping track of what books to read next, and, of course, book boyfriends.
As well as many of the other features in the other book journals, and a delightfully punny title, My Bibliofile includes lists of recommended reading from places like Oprah’s picks, the BBC Best Books, and Man Booker winners, and also favourites in a variety of genres, so you’ll never be stuck for ideas on what to read next. Every few pages, it also has an ingenious flow chart to fill in to help brainstorm what topics the books you’ve read have made you want to learn about, and what books you could read next to further explore it. Books lead to books lead to books lead to books. What could be better than that?