Why You Need a Reading Journal In Your Life

Have you ever considered using a reading journal?

When you read as much as I do, you realize that you need a reading journal in your life. A reading journal is a necessity for the avid (or casual) reader for so many reasons which I share in this post below.

Read on to learn why I think you too need a reading journal to enhance your reading life. Plus, I’ll give you some great options of journals you can begin using today!

*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you've ever considered using a reading journal, check out this blog post from romance book blogger, She Reads Romance Books to learn why every reader should have a reading journal in their life.
Discover all the reasons why you’ll want to start using a reading journal!

What is a Reading Journal?

Journal, tracker, planner, diary? There are really so many words that you could use interchangeably for what I consider a reading journal.

A reading journal is a place where you can record the books you read, what you think about them and any other reflections that come up for you while reading them.

I think the best reading journals give you the space to do all three of these actions but sometimes journals can be more specific in their goals.

Reading Tracker vs Reading Planner vs Reading Journal

While a reading journal can help you accomplish a number of reading goals, some are specific to the needs it fulfills.

Reading Tracker

A reading tracker solely helps you track your books.

Usually in list form, a reading tracker can help you track your favorite books, the books you read each month and each year and any other aspect of your reading habit.

Reading Planner

A reading planner helps you plan what you’re going to read next.

Have you ever saw a book recommendation on social media or a blog post and thought I definitely want to read that but then forgot which book it was days later?

Well, a reading planner is a place to help you write down the books you want to read so that you never forget a recommendation or miss a new release you’ve been looking forward to reading.

A reading planner will help you track recommendations, upcoming book releases, library holdings and more.

To read lists, book recommendations lists or even a reading challenge list can all make up a reading planner as well.

Reading Journal

A reading journal can be part reading tracker and reading planner but can be a whole lot more.

It can also act like a diary, giving you the space to reflect on the books you read and the feelings, goals, questions that they may invoke.

A reading journal can also give you prompts for writing or reflection, which I give in my Romance Book Reading Journal.

Check out sample pages from the paperback and hardcover Romance Book Reading Journal.

Grab Your Copy of the Romance Book Reading Journal

Every reader needs the Romance Book Reading Journal which is part reading tracker, reading planner, and reading journal in one!

Why Do You Need a Reading Journal?

There are so many reasons I believe every reader could use a reading journal.

Let’s explore the top reasons why you need a reading journal in your life:

To Remember Your Favorites

Keeping a reading journal will help you remember your favorite books! If nothing else, this reason alone is worth starting a reading journal.

For a book to be considered one of my favorites, it has to stand out from the rest and give the full package. But when I read as many books in a year as I do, I can easily forget why I loved a book unless I write down the reasons. That’s where my reading journal comes in.

Sure, a formal book review will help me remember my most favorite books, but I don’t necessarily always want to write up a full book review.

Instead, I can use my reading journal as a reading log to capture what I loved about the book, my favorite passages, my favorite characters or even my favorite quotes.

To Improve Your Memory

Using a reading journal to remember your favorites will also improve your memory. It’s a scientific fact!

When you put pen to paper to write something down, you are improving your memory.

In fact, according to this study, when you write something down, you are able to recall things better. So, using a reading journal is really a win-win for many aspects in your life.

To Remember Important Details Not Captured Anywhere Else

I love using a reading journal because it helps me to track and record aspects of my reading life that aren’t captured anywhere else.

In my Romance Book Reading Journal for example, there are specific pages for me to track my favorite book boyfriends and my favorite dirty talkers which are some of the main reasons I love reading romance. 😊

No other journal helps me to capture these important details to my reading life that I always want to remember.

To Share Recommendations

Friends who know how much I read often ask me for recommendations. Same goes for my fellow romance book lovers who follow my blog.

By keeping a reading journal, I am able to easily search for specific books, look at my star rating for a particular book or just remember a key aspect about a favorite that I want to share when making my recommendations to others.

To Help with Book Club Selections

If you’re in a book club, then a reading journal would be a great accompaniment for your experience (as well as a great gift for your members!).

Not only could you use your book journal as a way to track the club’s and your own favorites, but it would be a great spot to log opinions shared by your book club members that you want to remember or reflect on more.

It can also help you track and plan your book club’s selections so that you can either maintain variety in your reading or stay on track with the purpose of your club.

If you’re wanting to start a book club of your own, start using a reading journal now so that you can use it to help you make future book selections.

To Reflect on Your Reading

I personally like to use a reading journal beyond its capabilities as a reading tracker or planner.

Many times a book evokes so many feelings that I need a place to mull them over or simply write them down so I remember how much a book affected me.

I always say that there is so much more to reading romance than just getting a happy ending as they often teach me about so many topics!

By using a reading journal, I have a place to reflect on and record new aspects that I learn about and may whish to explore further down the road.

To Make Reading Even More Fun

Reading should always be about enjoyment or learning in my opinion but you can’t forget that it should also be fun.

People who use a bullet journal style reading journal can have fun exploring their creative and artistic side, playing with color, fonts and designs.

In my Romance Book Reading Journal, I also include coloring pages and doodle pages that can definitely add a bit more fun into your reading life.

To Track New Book Releases So You Never Miss One!

I fully admit that I have an obsession with new book releases. I find it so exciting looking ahead to what books are on the horizon and which books my favorite authors will be releasing soon.

But do you know just how many new books are released each month? A TON!

Who has the brain capacity to remember a ton of books that are about to be released? I sure don’t, so that’s where my reading journal comes in.

It’s the perfect one-stop-location to track all of the new romance book releases that I want on my TBR list so that I never forget a new book that I want to read.

To Help You Set and Meet Reading Goals

Every year I set a reading goal for myself. It’s not necessarily a hard goal that I HAVE to achieve but I do like having a goal in mind that I want to strive for.

My reading journal can not only be a place where I keep my reading goal front and center, but it can also help me track the books that help me reach that goal.

You can even get creative and draw a progress chart in your reading journal that you color in with every book that you read.

Pin This For Later:

Discover the reasons why you should keep a reading journal if you are an avid reader.
Discover the reasons why you should start using a reading journal if you are an avid reader.

What is Important to Keep in a Reading Journal?

It is such a personal choice as to what you should keep in a reading journal, so it’s really up to you how you use a reading journal and what you track in it.

To get your wheels turning, here are my suggestions for what you could track for each book you read in your reading journal:

  • Title & Author
  • Genre/Trope of Book
  • Star rating
  • Where You Got the Book
  • Your Overall Thoughts

If you want to go a bit deeper, you could also include:

  • Book Series Name
  • Favorite Quotes
  • Character Names
  • Book Length (Number of Pages)
  • Who to Recommend it to
  • Type of book (audio, paperback, ebook)

Ideas on How to Use Your Reading Journal

You can also use your reading journal for more than just planning, tracking or reflecting on your own reading. Here are just a few additional ideas that you can use your reading journal for:

  • Saving Quotes that you can use later to create wall art or bookmarks
  • Reflecting on characters to help you determine what you’re looking for in a partner, friend, boss, neighbor
  • Tracking ideas, activities or hobbies you want to check out and explore
  • Tracking new habits that you learned about in a particular book

Choosing a Reading Journal

Journaling is a popular activity so there is no shortage of options when it comes to choosing your own reading journal.

Printed or Digital Reading Journal?

First off you’ll want to decide if you’re looking for a printed reading journal that is a hardback or paperback book or if you’re looking for a digital reading journal that is printable.

Both options are fantastic and have their own pros and potential cons.

Printed Journal

A printed hardcover or paperback journal is one you can easily transport anywhere (on your commute, on vacation, etc) or simply keep on your nightstand for an easy grab and write whenever you need or want it.

It can also make the perfect keepsake if you want to keep a printed journal each year that you can then pick up and look back on from year to year.

The only caveat to a bound, printed reading journal whether hardback or paperback is that you are limited to the pages and the number of pages in the book. This makes it less customizable than a digital journal. A printed journal may also be a bit more expensive if cost is a concern.

Digital Journal

A digital, printable journal is one that you can download as a pdf onto your own computer or device. It can either be a fillable journal or not.

A digital journal is a great option because it’s often less expensive than a bound journal and is just a one-time cost that you can reuse again and again, year after year.

You essentially can print as many pages and copies of the digital journal as you want and need making it a great resource that you can use indefinitely in your reading life.

A digital journal is also the most customizable journal where again you can print as many copies of a particular page that you like and only print or use the pages that you like and need. If your particular reading journal doesn’t have a type of page that you want, you can easily create it yourself and add it.

You also always have the option to print your journal and have it bound yourself at your local office supply store.

Why You Need the Romance Book Reading Journal

Check out the Romance Book Reading Journal - the only journal dedicated to the romance book reader.
All romance book readers need the Romance Book Reading Journal in their life!

The Romance Book Reading Journal was designed exclusively for the romance book genre and the romance book lover.

Available as either a hardcover or paperback, this reading journal has over 100 pages.

Part reading planner, reading tracker, and reading diary, this reading journal has pages to plan your reading list, track your reading habits and favorite books, authors, series, book boyfriends, quotes and more.

It also has many creative pages for you to reflect on your reading as well as fun pages such as different reading challenges and reading bingo pages.

More Reading Journals You May Like

There are so many options when it comes to choosing the best reading journal for you. To help narrow down your options, I’ve compiled a list of the 25 best reading journals that are perfect for every type of reader.

I’ve also included a few additional ones for you to consider here:

Annual Reading Challenge Journal

Check out the Annual Reading Challenge Journal from Mindjoggle.
Check out the Annual Reading Challenge Journal if you like to create your own challenge!

If you are an avid fan of reading challenges, then you may like the Annual Reading Challenge Journal from Mindjoggle.

If you’ve ever wanted to just create your own reading challenge, this journal will help you do it! Plus it also comes with pages for you to track your monthly and annual reading and write book reviews.

Bullet Journal Method

The Bullet Journal Method will help you create your own reading journal.
Learn the bullet journal method from the creators.

If you love bullet journaling and want to use this style as your reading journal, then check out the book that started it all: The Bullet Journal Method.

Once you have the hang of the method, you just have to collect your supplies and get journaling!

Reading Journal with Suggested Book Lists

Check out the My Reading Life Journal if you're looking to add a reading journal to your life.
Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy created her own reading journal with custom book lists.

If you want a reading journal that gives you a bit extra, check out Anne Bogel’s My Reading Life Journal. In it she gives several custom book lists with reading recommendations by season and theme.

Do you use a reading journal in your life? Share in the comments below and let me know what you use and how it’s impacted your reading life.

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Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

Why Trust She Reads Romance Books?

Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion and she cultivates her book lists with the best books worth reading in the genre. Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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