Monday, January 14, 2013

Reading journal vs. Reviews

Lately I'm more interested in the idea of keeping a reading journal than writing reviews. The difference, as I see it, is that a reading journal is ongoing, books-in-progress while a review feels more evaluative--the reviewer's final word on a book.

OK, the biggest difference is that for a reading journal, there's no requirement to finish the book before writing about it. Not that I'm (usually) trying to avoid finishing the books. I'm just more interested in writing about a book while I'm reading it. The book is at the front of my mind, I have all sorts of things to say about it, I'm composing entire paragraphs in my head, and then--I finish it. And...I'm kind of ready to move on.

The reading pile (okay: piles!!) calls to me. The book I'm writing calls to me. My kids and their schooling calls, too. I wish all the housework that needed to be done would call to me but it sits meekly in the corner with the dust bunnies saying, "That's all right, I know you're busy. I'll be fine over here the dark alone..."

Sometimes the book needs to go back to the library, so I can't use it to refer to while writing a review, but more often I can renew it and it sits there, waiting for me to either review it (clearly not so often, lately) or give up and finally return it so others can read it. Worse yet, when I own the book, it joins Housework in the corner with the dust bunnies and the guilt of yet another Review Unwritten.

I think I'll try the reading journal format and see how it goes. I'm currently alternating between two good books (A Great Feast of Light, by John Doyle, and The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey). All I need to do is decide which one to write about first.


  1. Exactly what I love goodreads for - the update statuses. I love just quickly adding page number and a thought or highlight a quote or a word to look up later. best to you on this new way to track your reading.

  2. Whatever works for you sounds great to me!

  3. I do like the idea of a reading journal, in part, because like you wrote, it doesn't have to happen at the end of the book. I also like the idea because too often by the time I finish a book, I've forgotten some of the thoughts or reflections I had while reading.

  4. @Katrina, Yes, that's exactly what happens to me.