When it comes to revitalizing your reading life—or revamping your reading journal—here at Modern Mrs Darcy we believe that one time is just as good as another. There’s nothing magical about January 1; you can implement change at any time.
But I also know that we’re a journal-loving crowd, and with that in mind, I’d like to share an old trick I’m planning on implementing more rigorously in my own reading journal this year, and it has to do with keeping track of the books I’d like to read one day.
There are a lot of books I’d like to read. (Shocking, right?) I read book news, I talk to readers about what they’ve enjoyed, I see interesting books while browsing at the bookstore.
The habit I’ve fallen into this past year looks like this: I’ll jot titles I want to read on a post-it note, or capture the title in a note on my phone. And then, if I’m being thorough, I’ll periodically transfer these titles to a running list I keep in my everyday bullet-ish journal. (See the photo above.)
This isn’t a bad strategy: I’ve captured the titles so I can remember them. I have a TBR (i.e., To Be Read) list ready and available.
But there’s a problem with this method: I can’t tell you how often I’ll pull out my TBR and think, I’ve never heard of this title before. Or wondered, How did it end up on my list?
When I first hear about a new book, and I’m excited to read it, I’m certain I’ll never forget who told me about it, or where I saw it, or WHY I wanted to add it to my TBR.
But I too often forget—and not only because many months can go by between when I learn of a book and when I actually sit down to read it. Sometimes I forget in the short interval between when I request a book from the library and when I pick it up a few days later! (Embarrassing, but true.)
I started a new journal a few weeks ago, simply because I used up my old one just before the new year. And in it, I’m returning to a method I adhered to several years ago, that served me well. I fell out of the habit because it takes a little bit of extra effort and a moderate amount of extra space, but my frustration with my current method has convinced me that this bit of extra effort is worth it.
The method is simple. In addition to capturing the title and author, I write down three extra bits of information, that all conveniently start with the letter W:
- Who recommended it?
- Why did I add it to my list?
- When did I add it?
These 3 W’s aren’t meant to turn reading into some kind of weird competition, like who recommended the best books to me, or how quickly can I knock out my TBR titles. No, it’s more fun than that. These three pieces of information help me recall that initial moment of bookish enthusiasm that made me think, That book sounds like something I’d like to read.
At this moment in your reading life, I hope you have plenty of books you’re excited to read next, and I hope you’re able to implement a method that helps you remember why you were excited to read them.
Many of you are planning your Reading Challenge selections right now (I’m doing the same, and will share my own list soon), and resolving to clear some books off your TBR and your unread shelf as you do it. I’m cheering you on as you do: it’s so worth taking a look at your TBR (whether that’s in your journal or on your actual, physical bookshelf) as you plot what to read next.
I’d love to hear what methods you use to keep track of your To Be Read titles; please tell us in comments!
And if you don’t currently have a reading journal that’s serving you well, feel free to print the one I designed for you; that free reading journal is available to blog subscribers right here.
Happy reading, friends!