The new year is such a natural time to reevaluate your life and I’ve found myself doing that a little bit with my reading life. I’ve already written a post listing my 2019 reading goals, but I was also thinking last night about some of the bookish habits that I might like to change.
1. Using my reading journal
I currently use a small, hardback spiral notebook that fits in my purse to take my reading notes, but I’m not very consistent at it. At this point, I think my layout is fine, I write the title and author at the top and whether it’s an ARC and/or the date of my blog tour post if applicable. Then I leave a space where I can list main characters and the rest of the page is for me to take notes. If you’ve read some of my reviews, you’ll notice that I have content ratings at the end. For a period of time, that was difficult for me to keep track of while I was reading, but I eventually just designed a rubber stamp that I could use on each page of my journal that looks like this:
It was super easy to make, I just made the design I wanted in Word and then submitted it to rubberstamps.net. From what I remember it wasn’t super expensive either. Anyway, that’s a long explanation for me to tell you that my layout is no longer the problem. My problem is now just consistency. I don’t consistently take notes while I’m reading and I think it’s just because I don’t always have my notebook out while I’m reading. I’d like to try to get better at that since I think it’ll make my reviews better and easier to write.
There are a TON of reading journals out there, but here are a few I found that sound great.
Reading Log Book – I liked that this one has a table of contents and a really thorough review layout (great for those end of the year graphs) including a place to mark where you’ve posted a review. There’s not much space, though, so it’d be better for someone who just wants to jot down brief thoughts.
The Book Lover’s Journal – This one is a spiral (which I’m a fan of) and I like that it gives you a ton of different categories to rate (pace, plot development, characters, etc). There’s also a place to mark where you read a book which I think is kind of cool.
Read Harder Journal – Okay, this one is cool because it combines a journal with reading challenges. There are 12 challenges spaced throughout (read a book about books, read a book that was originally written in another language) and it also gives you suggestions if you’re having a hard time thinking of one. And then, of course, regular review pages.
Reading Log – I like this one because it’s cheap (only $6!) and also because you can mark in the table of contents what genre each book is.
2. Diversifying my reading
I don’t mean in terms of like…POC and stuff like that, though that’s good too. In the past I’ve really stuck to YA as my home base and I’ve rarely read outside of that. I feel like in this last year, though, I did venture outside of YA more than I have in the past and I liked it! This year I want to read more adult and genre fiction, I want to read more classics, I want to read more nonfiction, and I want to try to listen to more audiobooks. In order to do this, I will definitely be utilizing the library more (which is easy when you work there and stuff).
3. Being more selective when requesting ARCs
This is an eternal struggle. ARCs are inherently an exciting thing–you get to read a book early before almost everyone else! But part of getting the ARC is committing to write a review about it. With a baby, it has been so hard to find the time to write reviews so usually I’m reviewing books a month or two after I’ve read them. That kind of defeats the purpose of the ARC since the whole reason publishers send them out is to promote the release of the book. So, I need to really be selective about which ARCs I request. Lately I’ve been trying to really think about whether I want to read a book before I make my request. I wrote this post about a year ago listing seven ways to keep yourself from going crazy on Netgalley–I’m still trying to live by my own guidelines haha.
4. Be a better blogger
By better I maybe just mean more consistent. I actually want to write reviews for all the books I read. I’ve still got plenty of books from last year that I haven’t reviewed and I’m hoping to get caught up within the next few months.
I also want to improve the quality of my reviews and other posts. I want to make sure I’m proofing and editing them before they go up. I want to make sure I’m taking the time to produce thoughtful and well-written posts. I hope that by doing this, I can provide a good resource for other readers, but that I can also create a space where a group of people can come together and talk about books!
Lastly, I don’t want to go weeks at a time without posting and then have five posts in one day. I want you guys to be able to expect certain things from this blog and I want to meet those expectations. I want to have a good variety of reviews, discussions, and book news posts.