Last week I shared my new class, Book Journaling for Book Lovers. In it, I share how I’ve taken a regular journal and transformed it into a tracker for my reading life that works really well for me. It helps me track what I’ve read, what I want to read, book notes, all time favorites, bookstores to visit… plus it helps me schedule my reading time.
You can choose to make your book journal as simple or as elaborate as you want: both with the tools you use and the designs you put inside.
My journal is super simple, but I’m a pen geek, and I do enjoy using—at least periodically—a wide variety of journaling tools.
Can you make a book journal that serves you well with a notebook from Target’s Dollar Spot and a cheap promotional pen? YES. But if you’ve ever described yourself as a pen junkie, or can’t visit a bookstore without browsing the stationery section, this list of some of my favorite tools is for you.
- The Leuchtturm 1917 journal is my favorite, and the gold standard of bullet journalers because of its thick paper, numbered pages, and extra bookmark. I prefer the dotted. (lined | dotted | squared | plain | custom Modern Mrs. Darcy)
- The Moleskine is another favorite journal, available in a wide variety of sized and colors.
- Rhodia journals are high quality, with smooth paper, and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. I buy these at my local bookstore—the spiral reverse book is my favorite for brainstorming and note taking. (bound | spiral )
- The Pilot G-2 is a classic gel pen, easy to find and inexpensive. I prefer the finer .38 tip. (.5 “extra fine” | .38 “ultra fine”) . I also love the similar Pilot Juice.
- The Pilot Precise V5 is a smooth roller ball pen that draws a satisfying deep black line. I especially love the extra fine point retractable version.
- The Uniball Signo Micro 207 is another inexpensive, smooth-writing pen.
- Staedtler Triplus Fineliners are fine felt-tip pens available in a wide variety of beautiful colors. I LOVE the grey because it writes like a pen but looks like a pencil. (black | multi | grey)
- Sakura Microns are favored by sketchers because they write well on all kinds of paper, and the colors are intense. Also available at JoAnn Fabrics. (black variety pack | multi)
- Papermate Flairs are fantastic and versatile felt-tip pens. I’m writing with one right now. The tropical colors are my favorite.
- Sharpie pens are my current favorite (fine point please). (blue | multi)
- Le Pens are fun and colorful, with a sleek barrel design.
- Gellyrolls are my favorite for accenting my journal, and are also our go-to birthday gift for the younger set. (The moonlight collection is our favorite.) (moonlight | glaze | stardust)
- My Lamy Vista fountain pen is perfect for those who want to dip their toes into the world of fountain pens, though I hardly ever use this in my book journal.
Psst—if you want to try an assortment of pens at a reasonable price, our Deluxe Reading Journal Kit and Accessories Kit both include three of my favorite pens—one black or blue, two colors—plus one of my favorite dry highlighters.
I’m a pen girl, myself, but this past year I’ve been experimenting more with pencils, like these.
- The classic yellow Ticonderoga offers the best bang for the buck.
- The Blackwing is the typical gateway to the wider world of finer pencils; my favorite is the Pearl. (At publish time these are seriously overpriced on Amazon. I buy mine at my local bookstore.)
- My favorite pencil sharpener keeps my pencils at the ready.
- CW Pencil Enterprise just might turn you into a believer. If you’re in NYC, go visit them on Orchard Street. If you’re not, follow their gorgeous instagram account—then place your order online.
- I love my Lettermate—a handy tool for those of us that have trouble writing in a straight line. (Look for this at Paper Source or your local bookstore.)
- Book darts have my heart.
- Post-its, because I use them like this.
- Stencils to make things neat and pretty (like this banner/bullet one on Etsy, or this bookshelf stencil)
- This very small star stamp, if you like to assign star ratings to your titles.
- Washi tape can double as a book dart and is an easy way to decorate a page.
If you want to know all of my book journaling secrets, Book Journaling for Book Lovers is just $15 in the MMD Shop. Right now, you can save 50% off the class when you buy it and a journal or journal kit (regular | deluxe) and the use the code BOJO50.
Do you have a pen you’d rather not live without, or a pencil you adore, or a fun extra you swear by? Tell us about them in comments. Much like my TBR pile, I can never have enough pen recommendations.