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Self-Ed: Reading Journals

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I don't keep a journal but when I read a book I do create a document on my PC where I keep a note of the following:


  • Book details (title, author, publication date, date read)
  • Cover description
  • Context in which the book was written (usually from SparkNotes)
  • List of characters with brief description (I compile this as I read)
  • Brief chapter descriptions (I write these after completing each chapter)
  • Vocabulary of new words (list of new words and meanings)

When I finish the book, I put a print out of the document in the book so if I need to reference something quickly then I can just grab the book and look at my notes.


As I read, I also highlight sentences and paragraphs that I find interesting or well written. I am starting to write in books too, where I might ask a question of the author or add an example of what is being discussed for my own reference.


I've no idea how to maintain a journal so I'd be interested to hear what others do in theirs.

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Well, I keep a spiritual reading journal. I normally read books quickly all the way through. I just need to have a big picture. Then if it is a good book and worthy of the journal, I go through it very slowly. I underline passages. Then I copy them into my journal. I've never done it with academic books, although occassionally quotes from some literature will make its way in there.



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in high school I used a small spiral notebook and wrote down quotes from the book I was reading & page #'s to reference the work during class discussions & to use for writing a paper on the book.


I've use every kind of notebook since. I still write down quotes from the book that I want to remember with page #'s. I write the book title, author & date I'm reading it.


I'm not currently keeping a reading journal because there is nothing I particularly want to remember from my current readings (The Hot Zone, Water for Elephants, etc.).


My ds is keeping a reading journal (because he has to :D), and he writes a one sentence summary of each chapter of the book.


You can read some of my notes on the book "How To Read Literature Like a Professor" on my blog.

Edited by MIch elle
added blog info
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I really like my current setup. I use a Circa/Rollabind notebook, divided by genre. If I have a lot of notes on different books in one section, I scribble a rough index on the first page so I can actually find things (b/c it's circa, I can go back and add this in).


What I write depends on the book. Maybe just a quote or two and some general reactions, maybe more detailed notes by chapter if it's something I'm studying, not just reading. Sometimes I put reminders like "check his statement on compulsory schooling" etc.


I like using the circa notebooks because everything moves around very easily, you never have to worry about running out of pages, you don't need to take your notes in order, & so on. If there happens to be an extra that kind of corresponds with the book or subject, like a map or brochure, that can go right in there too.

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