Daydreaming on Paper
 
September 2019
Writing About Reading
 


My current reading journal. I like to use the blank books that I receive as gifts for this purpose.

 

I read. A lot. Certainly more in terms of both quantity and range of topics and genres than anyone that I personally know. For me, reading came before writing, but they naturally go together, and writing about the books that I've read is one of my favorite things to do.

The problem is that I am lazy. I am probably also the laziest person that I personally know. In the past, I've tried to keep "real" reading journals - notebooks full of detailed information about and intelligent reviews of what I read. I had every intention of keeping this up, but the speed at which I finished each book, coupled with my natural laziness, made this project quickly become overwhelming. I found myself avoiding my reading journal because I didn't want to take the time to do a thorough write-up. A lot of books went unrecorded, and I would feel guilty about not staying on top of things, which, in both cases, defeated the purpose of keeping such a journal in the first place.

These days, I am much more casual about my approach to the reading journal. I keep a simple log, and the only required bits of information about each book are the title, the author's name, the publication year, and the date that I finished it. Beyond that, I may or may not jot down my impressions of or reactions to what I've read. These are not reviews; they're more like written snapshots of my state of mind almost immediately after turning the last page. Some of them are just a short sentence fragment long; others ramble on for page after page, which usually means that I either loved it or hated it. I typically do not create a new log entry for books that I re-read, but sometimes, if I can find it (a smart person would create indexes for her reading journals but, alas, that person is not me), I will go back and add some additional thoughts to the original entry in a different color of ink and note the new date. But, that doesn't happen often, and that's fine with me. In my reading journal, as with my main notebook, there are no rules.

This method has been working a lot better for me and, even better, the resulting entries are a lot more interesting to read (for me, anyway). I now have a pretty complete record of my reading habit (which I, of course, generally engage in while lying in bed), and creating it doesn't take much time or mental energy from the main pursuit. And, of course, I have another reason to use all of my blank books and writing papers and pens and inks. Win!

 


My current stack of bedside reading - a mix of old favorites and new (to me) discoveries

 

Recently, I created a simple one-page, hand-written newsletter called Notes from my Reading Journal as my contribution for a mail group that I'm in. It was a lot of fun for me to go back over what I'd read the previous month and pick out bits and pieces about each book to share, so I'm probably going to keep this going for a while. If you'd like a copy, simply send me a SASE, and I'll put one in the mail for you. Even if you don't want the newsletter, I'd love to know what you're reading these days, so drop me a line anyway. I'm always looking for more titles to add to my never-ending To-Read list.

 

Happy Scribbling!

 
 

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