Book Journal

Have you ever wanted to start a book journal? Have you ever had difficulty finding a book journal that works for you? After many years of struggling to find a good fit, I decided to just make my own! I grab a blank journal (it’s been anything from a cheap Composition Book to a Moleskine) and write the headers at the top of each page. I’ll also separate each page out by year, just because I think it’s fun to look back on my reading habits. Given the number of books I read, I tend to fill one up in about 5 years so they’re also a fun thing to make and start collecting on your shelves with your books!

*THIS LIST IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. IT MAY NOT BE USED FOR MONETARY GAIN.*

Section 1: Feelings, Favorites & Genres

The Feelings Section – I love when a book makes me feel something, good or bad, and often the best books are the ones I include in multiple categories below.

  • Best Books of My [insert decade of life here] (can also include a Part I or Part II if you do it every five years like me)
  • Books That Made Me Laugh
  • Books That Made Me Cry (these are happy tears books and sad tears books)
  • Books That Made Me Angry (any reason for anger is justified for inclusion on this page)
  • Books That Made Me Happy
  • Books That Scared Me
  • Books That Bored Me
  • Books I Couldn’t Stop Thinking About
  • Books I Couldn’t Finish
  • Least Favorite Books

The Genre Section – as I work in a book store, I sort by books based on the way we sort them at the store. However, I also tend to read at least one book from each section every year, so my genre list is pretty long. Feel free to use whatever genre classifications you think will work for you, consolidate or omit as needed!

  • My Favorite Audiobooks
  • My Favorite Biographies
  • My Favorite Children’s Books (picture books through chapter books)
  • My Favorite Classics
  • My Favorite Coming of Age Books
  • My Favorite Contemporary Fiction (I only include adult here)
  • My Favorite Fantasy Books (I included YA & Adult)
  • My Favorite Graphic Novels (usually just bound volumes here)
  • My Favorite Historical Fiction (I included YA & Adult)
  • My Favorite History Books (nonfiction)
  • My Favorite Memoirs & Autobiographies (graphic novel memoirs included here)
  • My Favorite Mystery & Suspense Novels
  • My Favorite Photography & Art Books (some Sociology books included here)
  • My Favorite Psychology & Self-Help Books
  • My Favorite Racy Reads
  • My Favorite Retellings & Adaptations (of mythology, fairy tales and classics)
  • My Favorite Science Fiction (again, YA & Adult)
  • My Favorite Series (only included if I finished the whole series)
  • My Favorite Short Stories, Novellas & Essays
  • My Favorite Sociology Books
  • My Favorite Stage & Screen Plays
  • My Favorite Travel Books
  • My Favorite Young Adult Books (contemporary YA fiction)

Section 2: All About Authors

This is the shortest section in the journal but a great spot to think about the authors who have shaped your reading life over the years.

  • My Favorite Authors
  • Authors Who Have Most Influenced Me
  • Poets I Adore
  • Journalists I Admire
  • Authors I’ve Seen Speak (working in a bookstore, this one is 2 pages long…)
  • Authors I’d Have at My Algonquin Table
  • Authors Whose Lives Fascinate Me
  • Authors to Explore (a checklist)
  • Anything & Everything Authors (for those authors whom I’ve read all their published works)

Section 3: Character Commitment

This section is exclusively for fiction. When the book community talks about representation and authentic voices, I think every author should sit down and look at this list and make sure that they are writing characters who are varied and diverse.

  • Characters Most Like Me
  • Characters I Would Want to Be (characters I admire and look up to)
  • Characters I Would Want as Friends
  • Favorite Female Characters (there’s often a lot of overlap on these first four lists)
  • Favorite Male Characters (if you don’t want to split into genders here, combine them, and include nongendered characters in a generic “Favorite Characters” page)
  • Literary Crushes & Book Boy/Girlfriends
  • Favorite Literary Lovebirds
  • Favorite Friendships
  • Wittiest Characters
  • Characters I Would Not Get Along With (doesn’t mean they are bad/evil)
  • Characters I Would Not Want as Enemies (doesn’t mean they are bad/evil)
  • Literary Monsters (these characters are bad/evil)
  • Fictional Children I Love
  • Favorite Troubled Characters (define “troubled” in whatever manner you wish)
  • Memorable Characters Who Died Tragically (best not to show this one off to many people, we all want to avoid spoilers!)
  • Favorite Character Wardrobes
  • Characters’ Homes I Would Want to Live In
  • Families I’ve Spanned Time With
  • Steamiest Book Scenes

Section 4: Bookish Travels

This section is all about getting lost in the world of the book – books can take us on such wonderful journeys and I love revisiting my adventures by flipping through these pages of my journal. It’s not a huge section and can always be combined with another one if you so choose. I include both fiction and nonfiction books on these lists.

  • Favorite Book Settings
  • Places in Books I Want to Visit
  • Places in Books I Don’t Want to Visit
  • Cities & Countries I’ve Traveled to via Books
  • Historical Periods I’ve Vicariously Lived Through
  • Cultures I’ve Immersed Myself In
  • Fantastical Worlds I’ve Explored
  • Literary Pilgrimages to Take (checklist)

Section 5: Miscellaneous

This section is full of lots of other page ideas that you can include if you wish, but that I didn’t think fit too well in any of the other three categories. Some could fit in the first section, but I chose to keep them separate and towards the end of my journal.

  • Best Books About Falling in Love
  • Best Books About Falling Apart
  • Books I Hope Become Films/TV Series
  • Best Film/Television Adaptations
  • Worst Film/Television Adaptations
  • My Vacation Books
  • Favorite Covers
  • Books with Awesome Fan Art (mostly YA fantasy series)
  • Banned Books I’ve Read
  • Cliffsnotes Would Have Been Handy (dense, difficult to understand books)
  • Books I Could Pin a Song To (books that reminded me of a certain song that I then couldn’t get out of my head)
  • Books That Taught Me Something/Had a Philosophical Impact On Me (books that changed how I live my life or think about a particular topic)
  • Books Recommended to Me
  • Signed Books Read
  • Book Club Selections
  • Favorite Quotes
  • Favorite Genres
  • Favorite Magazines
  • Literary Classes & Conferences I’ve Attended + Book Clubs
  • Special Bookstores
  • Bookstores to Visit (checklist)
  • Favorite Reading Spots

Section 6: Books Read

Make a page to list each book you’ve read each year! I usually break this up into four subsections each year:

  • Books to Read in [YEAR] (checklist – a yearly TBR)
  • Books Read in [YEAR]
  • Graphic Novels Read in [YEAR]
  • Book Challenge for [YEAR] (checklist – I usually do the Pop Sugar challenge each year)