Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Art of Book Journaling

Journaling is a big deal in today's world. There's longhand for the ambitious and the all-new bullet journaling for the creative. Today I'm going to talk about the new sort I've explored, and why I think you should give it a shot.


I am not a journaler. I've tried for so many years to journal my life and it just . . . never happens.

I was first compelled to journal a book when I participated in a book club this summer. It was part of the assignment: to find something new and creative to do as you read.

So I tabbed pages and quotes as I read the first book, Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan. I found it amazing how much more themes and quotes stood out to me, when subconsciously looking for them! Since the book is middle-grade and set in Africa it was an easy read, but had lots of wildlife. Thus the extra thing I added was pictures of the birds Rachel mentioned and characteristics of them.


The second book I journaled (also for book club) was An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. I could not wait to do this one since it is one of my favorite books! As you can tell, I used plenty of tabs.


This time I even color coded them: green for a quote or observation, purple for something I could formulate a question off of for book club. (I am going to lead this session and will post a PDF with the questions for you guys to answer!) With some fine point pens my friend gave me for graduation, I was able to make the journaling I did match the tabs. I love it when colors have a purpose :)


The purpose of tabbing is so that I don't have to stop reading; I can just flag something I like and journal it later. So that was awesome.

Another book I journaled was If I Run by Terri Blackstock. This one I picked up from the library after becoming curious. I had no intention of journaling it until I realized what a good subject it would be a few pages in! Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of this one before I had to rip out all of my beautiful blue tabs and return the book to the library :(


I was so thrilled that this book included discussion questions, that not only did I journal this book, I typed up all of my journal notes on it and decided to share them with you! I figure it is the best way to show you exactly how I do it. (Probably best not to read it if you haven't read the book, or intend to. Some mild spoilers are contained.) You can click here or check it out on my Reviews page.

I haven't decided what book I'm going to journal next, but it shall be glorious! It really does help me get more out of a book. Since writing things down helps me remember them anyway, I've found this a very good way to retain more of what I read.


I highly recommend that all of you try journaling a book at some point. If you're going to do it, some tips:

  • you cannot journal too much your first time!
  • pick a low-key book to begin with
  •  use a journal that can lay flat
  • make it your own (pictures, doodles, quotes, song lyrics, research)
  • share pictures with me! :)
~~~~~
I'm so excited about everything I've discovered while journaling! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? I highly recommend all three of them, especially for journaling. How do you book journal? What kind of journaling do you most enjoy?

29 comments:

  1. Oh, this sounds like a great idea! You have a lovely blog, and I'm looking forward to reading it more!

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    1. Thank you, Katherine! It is very fun to do. I'd love to see how you can make it your own :)

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  2. Ooh Abi! This is such a cool idea! I have never heard of it before! I have tried and failed journaling SO. Many. Times. I really want to try this though! It looks like so much fun! And gorgeous handwriting, by the way. Left-handers are supposed to have terrible handwriting, but I haven't found that the truth! Everyone says mine is pretty (not to be arrogant. ;) ) And yours is gorgeous! :)

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    1. Thanks! I know, I've never been consistent at keeping any sort of journal before! But this one only requires dedication for a single book :)

      Thank you! I take secret pride in my handwriting ^.^ (Or not so secret, I guess.) But my cursive isn't nearly so legible ;) Now I want to see yours!

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  3. Such a good idea. I'm trying Bible journaling, but not this.

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    1. Thanks! Ah, I'd be curious to know exactly how you Bible journal because whatever I've tried I've never stuck with. Bound to be fruitful though if I could just find a good method! :)

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  4. ACK this is the best idea! I absolutely LOVE it and I'm totally going to do it *nods*. And it's awesome the way that you color coordinated the tabs and pen colors - that's the coolest thing :D.

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh good! I didn't realize it was such a revolutionary idea! Ha, thanks. I'll have you know I only coordinated once out of three times and that's only because I'm going to lead the book discussion :)

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  5. More than just making notes, it seems to me discussion is critical to learning. I'd love to find people online discussing the application of Christian teachings to everyday life and current affairs. Sadly, many seem to regard the details of their faith as a private secret, something to fear the outside world might discover.

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    1. Yes, that's one reason I color coded the one book is because I get to lead a discussion in a book club on it. It really is neat to see the different things people can get out of a book. Of course I like to do that even with myself, because different things stand out to me every time I read :)

      It's true, faith doesn't come into the mix as much as it should. I find that such discussions work better in person, though, with people you know a little better. Not because I don't want to share my faith (I do), but because I want to be sensitive to the many different denominations of Christianity. There are some very interesting things out there even in the "Christian" circles and people get so nit-picky and easily offended! With a more fine-tuned group, though, I would find that very fascinating and edifying as well!

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  6. Ooh, this is a good idea. :D I too read critically. Maybe I should do something like this.

    I aim to start journaling soon. I reaaally hope I can stick with it. :P (spoiler: I won't.) But I'm going to try. If I need extra motivation, I could always put it under the 'must' section on my to-do list. :P

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    1. Yes, if you already tend to be a critical reader, it would fit right in!

      I know :( I can't tell you how many half-filled journals I have. It's so pathetic that I've never kept up with it in any form. But I like the book journaling because I only have to keep up for the length of a single book. And it's interesting to see what all stood out to me at one point when a reread would probably highlight other things :)

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  7. Oh my gosh, this is a super cool idea. o.o i feel like it would be good for me to do -- after I read a book, I SO easily forget about it and it escapes my mind. I kept a google doc of books I read last year... I'm kicking myself because I forgot about it this year. Stupid me.

    // katie grace
    a writer's faith

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    1. Hehe, thanks! I didn't exactly invent it myself, though. I guess I didn't realize this was such a novel thought! YES! So you don't forget. That's the worst feeling ever :( Keeping a list is a clever idea; Goodreads has helped me keep track of the titles, though, so that is at least something! Time spent reading is too precious to forget! :)

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  8. I FINISHED _If I Run_ TODAY!!! It was awesome and I'm dying to read the next one when it comes out.
    _An Old Fashioned Girl_ is one of my all time most favorite books ever <3 I can actually relate to Polly _so_ well!
    This is a really neat and creative idea...I would try it but I think I want to focus on journaling more of my everyday hapoenings right now :)

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    1. Ignore the undersores lol On a different website I was using they would make rhe words italicized and I was curious if that would work here :)

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    2. Ha, don't worry. I've tried different things for italics and bold, too, and as of yet nothing has worked :/

      I'm so glad you got to read those books! I can't wait for the sequel, either. And yes! I relate to Polly, too. <3 It's such an amazing book ^.^

      I'm so proud of you for journaling everyday things! I cannot tell you how important I think that is and yet . . . I have never been able to keep up even remotely. *sigh* Someday!

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  9. Ah, this is an excellent idea! I really will have to try it, because I've been thinking I need to get more out of the books I read, and I forget details so easily too. It would make writing a review easier too.. Have you found that?

    Anyway, thanks for sharing this brilliant idea, Abigayle! :)

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    1. I'm glad you want to try it! I know, I hate forgetting nifty things about books! And, yes, I have found that it /definitely/ simplifies reviews! If you have already boiled down the book in your journal, then you just have to simplify that and perhaps reorganize it and then you have your review! It's very handy :)

      You're very welcome! Thanks for commenting!

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  10. ohmygoodness your copy of old fashioned girl GAHHHHHHH one of my fav books!!! I LOVE IT SO MUCH AND I ADORE YOU COPY CAN I HAVE IT FOR REAL *breathless*

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    1. AH! I'm so glad you love An Old-Fashioned Girl! You understand <3 Isn't it lovely? I actually *cough* paid more on ThriftBooks just to get a cover I liked. :) This is the most similar to the copy from my library that I read for the first time, so it meant more ;) Do you own a copy? I'd be interested to see what other covers look like :)

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  11. What a fun post, Abi!!! Book journaling looks very fun. It would be really neat to do it on a Bible book too. =)

    I tagged you for the Pray for People and Country tag just so you know. :) It's a wonderful tag, but you certainly don't have to do it! =) Here's the link though: http://becoming-lost.blogspot.com/2016/09/50th-post-announcement-tag.html

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    1. Thank you, Hannah! Yes, I should try it on a book of the Bible. Especially one like Esther or Ruth. Hmm . . . I may have to do that soon! I'm sure it would help me notice new things ;)

      Oh cool! I'll check it out. Thanks :)

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  12. I have been meaning to start journaling, thanks for the tips.

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    1. Yay! Of course, I love sharing things like this (and pictures, for once). I hope you find a neat way to personalize it! I'm not artsy enough for most things like that :P

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  13. I really like this idea! I currently have a gratitude journal which I think is my favorite so far, but I really want to try this!

    Lorraine // Laurel Crowned

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    1. Awesome! Oh, I should try a gratitude journal. I do so much better with something like that or a prayer journal than I do my life events! I'd love to see what book you do it on! :)

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  14. This seems like a cool idea (though I don't think I'd do it very well :'().

    Also, you have such beautiful handwriting. I'd like to improve my handwriting a bit but fear I mightn't have the time. Well, maybe I should give it a try.

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    1. Thanks! That's okay, it's not for everyone :)

      Haha, thanks :P It's really not too hard to work on handwriting--just write by hand more! Doesn't mean it will necessarily get better, unless you work hard to change some things, but it will get more consistent :) I'm sure it's lovely!

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