In January 2021, I wanted a fresh start to the new year and to renew my love of books. I’ve been a lifelong avid reader thanks to my mom. My mom also loves to read and she’s given me so many great books. She always made time to take me to the library, where I’d bring home giant stacks every week. I brought a book with me everywhere (even though reading in the car makes me nauseous). Now it’s even easier because I read ebooks off of my phone, so I’m never without reading material.
I didn’t track my reading except for school so I’ve probably read more books than I can remember. But thanks to the internet, I started tracking some books on LibraryThing first and then Goodreads. Since 2014, I’ve participated in the Goodreads yearly reading challenge with the goal of reading 52 books, or one book a week. And I almost always meet my goal!
But we can always make something prettier and more fun, right? I started seeing beautiful reading bullet journal spreads on Instagram and Youtube. At first, I was intimidated by the level of artistic ability I saw. I knew that I didn’t have the skills to sit down with a set of watercolors and paint a gorgeous title page or anything like that. But I’ve got lots of washi tape and stickers lying around, just waiting to be used. So I decided to make a reading journal in my own style.
Today, I’ll share my beginning pages in my journal that I use to track my reading. Keep in mind that I’m not a regular artist, I’m new to bullet journaling, and I’m not going for perfection. Also, these spreads will be filled out throughout the year, so they’re not done yet! But I’m developing my own style and I’m having fun. When I’m finished, I’ll have a great way to look back and remember everything that I read this year.
This will become an ongoing feature on this blog. In later posts, I’ll share some of my monthly spreads, and I’ll get back to writing reviews for books that I’ve read. I hope you’ll enjoy them!
My journal is a Leuchtturm1917 which has dot grid pages. The front of the journal is full of stickers that I enjoyed from various sources. I didn’t have a specific design in mind, just adding things that I love. But inside, I tried to be more deliberate with my choices. You can see that my cover page uses images from my author branding, which has a witch and magical items. I added my personal contact information in case the book gets lost, but I’ve hidden that here. I’ve always felt that books are magical. The stickers on the right are printed by me, the stickers on the left are from Happy Planner.
The journal came with page numbers printed in the bottom corners and an index page. I’ve filled it out with everything I’ve added so far to make it easier to find things in the future. I decorated the page with some washi tape from Simply Gilded. Since these opening pages will be used for the entire year, I wanted a theme that wasn’t tied to a particular season, so I chose space/celestial decorations.
A popular spread that I’ve seen in many bullet journals is this bookshelf spread. It starts with the outlines of many books. As I finish each book that I’ve read, I write down the title and color in the book. When it’s finished, it will look like a colorful bookshelf! I saved a second page in case the first one fills up before the year is finished. The constellation animal stickers that you’ll see on the next few pages came from Daiso.
As another visual representation of all the books I’ve read, I also created this spread to show off the book covers. Many books have such beautiful art and it’s a good way to remind myself what each book is. I created these stickers myself by resizing the book covers, printing them out on sticker paper, and cutting them with the Silhouette. Underneath each one, I added my rating for each book. It needs updating because one book (Songs of Insurrection) is missing the cover. The washi tape is from Simply Gilded.
Here I am tracking my 2021 reading goal and keeping statistics on the authors that I read. On the left, you can see that I’ve read 22 books, which is almost half of my goal of 52 books. There’s room to add more boxes if I go over my goal. I haven’t decided what else I want to track. Some other journals that I’ve seen list genres or book formats (paperback/ebook/audio book), but these don’t change much for me because I read almost exclusively in the fantasy genre with the ebook format. But on the right, I want to personally be more aware of what authors I’m reading. I know that the majority of authors I read are white women and I want to diversify. Hopefully, this spread will help me. The washi is also by Simply Gilded.
I also wanted to keep track of the series that I’m in the middle of reading. I thought that these four pages would be enough, but I’ve already filled them up. I’ll after to add another section for this list later in the journal. Some of these books I’ve read in previous years, but I wanted to remind myself to read the next book, particularly for ones that are releasing this year. For example, Leviathan Falls is coming in November and I’ll probably re-read the entire Expanse series before it comes out. Where there are blank lines, the author has announced plans for more books but hasn’t released the title yet. All washi tape is from Simply Gilded.
Finally, I wanted to see the year at a glance to show which months had the most reading. When each month ends, I add up the number of books I finished reading, how many days I read (which gets automatically tracked by my reading app), and how many pages were in those books. I added a lot more color here to fit the different seasons of the year and I just love how it turned out. Most of the washi is still Simply Gilded, by the flower one on the bottom is from Wonton in a Million and the Halloween washi is by Sweet Bean Plans.
I hope you enjoyed this look at my journal! Maybe it will inspire you to track your own reading. It’s fun to look back and remember all the fun things that I read!