Have you ever picked up a book and realized that you’d read it before but couldn’t really remember what it was about? I’ve found that keeping a “book journal” can be very handy, especially if you like to read a lot and don’t have the best memory! Also, I got started “book journaling” because I heard something like, “A good way to educate yourself is to read widely and write about what you read.” With that in mind, here are a few of my tips on keeping a book journal.
Generally, I’ve written two pages per book that I read. (If you don’t want to write that much, by all means don’t or just use a journal with small pages!)
In each entry, I would include the following information:
- The title and author of the book (This comes first at the top of the page so I can easily look it up later.)
- The date (I usually put when I’m writing the review, but you might want to put when you read the book.)
- My general reaction to the book (liked it, loved it, not my favorite, etc.)
- A short list of the main characters with a snippet about each
- A brief plot summary (more or less)
- My thoughts – that is, “I liked such and such…” or “This quote made me think about…” or “I would recommend this book for such and such age range.”
If you want more of an idea, here’s a glimpse at one of my book journal entries.
Teddy’s Button Amy LeFeuvre
May 21, 2013
This morning I finished reading another Lamplighter book, Teddy’s Button by Amy LeFeuvre. It is officially my favorite Lamplighter book, and I think will remain so for a long time.
Teddy (Theodore) Platt – a bright young boy with blonde curls and sparkling blue eyes who longs to honor and follow in the footsteps of his father who died as a soldier. The only item of his father’s that Teddy possesses is a cherished button from his coat.
The Rector, Mr. Upton – a godly man who shows Teddy what it means to be a soldier in the Lord’s Army [under His banner of love].
Mrs. John Platt – Teddy’s mother who loves her son in spite of his mischievous ways and prays that he would be a good soldier for the Lord.
Nancy – a sailor’s daughter who is at first Teddy’s “enemy”, but, by God’s grace working in both her and T., she comes to know Jesus, too, and to start quelling her tempestuous spirit.
Teddy Platt wants to be a soldier in the Queen’s army just like his father was. His inspiration comes from a button off his father’s uniform, and he loves to tell its story. However, to be a good soldier he reasons that he must have an enemy. The new girl in town, who despises Teddy’s button and is a sailor’s daughter, seems the obvious choice. Thankfully, a thoughtful rector takes the time to show Teddy how much better it is to be a good soldier of King Jesus, waving His banner of love. Once Teddy “enlists”, he embarks on a journey full of battles with a foe much more troubling than Nancy.
Mrs. L____ actually inspired me to read Teddy’s Button with a comment she made months ago. She said she thinks that this little book is the best she’s found for explaining sanctification to children. I think she’s right….Personally, I found it richly encouraging and instructive and challenging. There are so many grown-ups I would like to have read it. Maybe I can loan it to Grandma Hammer at least….
There you go! Maybe you would do your own book journal in an entirely different style. What would you change? I hope this post gives you a little inspiration to get the ink flowing into your own book journal however you choose to do it. Also, maybe you’ll be inspired to check out Teddy’s Button. Happily, I did get to loan it to Grandma Hammer, and I’m thankful for the memory of her saying she liked it.