Combine your love of books and participating in Reading Challenges, by making a journal of your own personal "book reviews" for all the books you read. Your "Book Reviews" can be a visual art or written journal. Or perhaps you would prefer to use index cards, alphabetized by author, in a recipe box. Or you could collage images that you find inspiring, or that reflect the story, onto shipping tags that you group together from a reading challenge that you are participating in. Either way, you complete your cards, tags or journal pages by writing your own personal "book review" on the back of your images or pages. Years ago, I read about this process in a Cloth-Paper-Scissors magazine where a reader wrote into the editors and told them about how she did this so that she could remember which books she had already read. After completing her "Card Catalog," as she called it, she collaged a box to hold with her cards with coordinating images of women reading and writing. Ever since I read that article, I have wanted to do some version of this...not only to "jog" my memory on the books that I've read, but also because I have been know to buy a book that I've already got at home...yikes! This journal will also be portable and I can take it to the bookstore with me. I could even make a list in the back of future books that I'd like to read, etc.
This year I am participating in a few reading challenges and I didn't want to wait any longer for the "perfect" application of a "card catalog" to get started! So, I discussed the idea with my friend, Lucy from Enchanted by Josephine, because I am participating in her French Historical Reading Challenge, and she encouraged me to post about my idea to create a "Book Review Journal". Lucy has an interest in illustrating her favorite heroines and the idea of creating her own journal for her favorite books and challenges was exciting to her as well. We also thought it would appeal to other readers participating in challenges if they could share in this process on-line with us.
So to get started, for my journal, I simply printed out Lucy's lovely blog button for her Oh La La! reading contest and adhered it to this black and white striped, "composition book"...it's just so very "french"... I like this type/size of journal also because it is portable and fits in my tote bag so I can take it everywhere with me. Even to the bookstore so I can keep a list, in the back, of future books that I'd like to read.
Another tool that I've put together are what I call "Book Review Journal Prompts" and it is simply a list of 13 (my lucky number) questions that I put together to help describe the book. You can answer these questions in any order that you like and you do not even have to answer all of them if you don't feel the need. Again, these are simply "prompts" to jog your journaling and you do not have to actually "write out the questions" when you are making your notes...just use the corresponding number if you need it as a reference...keep it simple sweetie! I have printed out these "prompts" and adhered them to the inside cover of my journal so that I have them handy.
You can also see in the above photo of my journal that I've printed and adhered a copy of the book cover of the current book that I'm reading...I love "visual aides". For those of you who would like to participate in completing a "Book Review Journal", then please leave me a comment with your blog post links. Please be sure that your posts have the following "Art Journal Collage" button and I'll post a link to your blog on my sidebar:
Please be sure to link any of your participating blog posts back to this main "Book Review Journal" post and not to my main page...thank you...we do not want to frustrate any of our blog followers :}
For those of you who are interested in using my journal prompts, please feel free to copy and paste the following into your own word document.
“Book Review” Journal Prompts:
Use these “prompts” as a resource for you to write a review about the books that you are reading. Keep in mind that this is to help you remember the details,
so make notes that are important to you!
Just print and place this card in the front of your journal, or use it as a bookmark,
where it will be handy as a quick reference guide.
Keep it simple by using the “number” for each prompt as you write down your reading notes, instead of actually writing out the questions/prompts.
This also means that you don’t have to go in any certain “order” or, that you have to answer every single prompt…just write down your notes in the order you feel inspired to as you read along. This way you will enjoy the process and not interrupt your flow of reading.
1. What made you pick up this particular book and start reading it? The picture on the cover...oh la la! The back cover summary?
2. Set the scene: describe where it takes place, when it occurs, etc.
3. Briefly, describe the main characters.
4. What historical "era" does this story portray?
5. Did the author write about a real historical figure(s) or embellish, invent the character(s)?
6. Did you learn anything new about the historical period from this story?
7. What's the general plot of the book?
8. Are there any surprises or twists in the story?
9. What is your favorite part of the entire story?
10. Were you sad that the story ended? Did you want it to keep going on because you loved the characters, the storyline, etc.?
11. Did this book "flow" easily for you? Or were there too many characters to remember or whose names you couldn't pronounce to connect to the characters?
12. Did the author bore you with too many details and historical references/facts so that the book read like a textbook?
13. Would you recommend this book and/or the author?