A reading log (or a book journal) is a great way of keeping a track of what you have read, or are and will be reading. And truth be told, not many of us make or maintain a reading log.
It is in fact good practice that helps you record your reactions to a book, and its characters. You can note your thoughts and gain further insight about the theme, the plot, the appeal and even its relevance. This will help you expand your overall enjoyment of reading and going back to a book you liked.
You will notice that towards the end of it all, you will turn in to a good reviewer of a book and a keen observer of things around.
Here are a few ideas/questions to get you started:
1. After reading the first couple of chapters, pen down your thoughts. See if they change as you proceed and reach the mid-way. And how you feel towards the end of the book. Would you go back to the book again or tag it as a one-time read? Also note any emotions that the book managed to invoke in you: smile, laughter, anger, worry, concern, tears?
2. Did you connect with the story line, or the characters, or the ideation at all? Could you draw a parallel with your life while reading it? Did the book remind you of any aspect of your life or an incident you (or someone you know) have undergone? Or did the book remind you of any other book you’ve read in the past? Was there any unique idea that made you think on different lines?
3. If you connected with any of the characters, who? Why? How? What did you find most appealing? Or given a chance would you become any of the characters? Who? Why?
4. If you’d have written the story, what would you do differently? Would you change its title, or any of its characters, or altered any bit of the story or location?
5. Do you have any apprehensions about any part of the book or any of its characters?
6. Does the book provoke you to ask questions of any sort? What kind of questions would they be? Are they questions about the author or the characters or the ideation?
7. If you could ask the author questions based on the book, would you? Or would you be inclined to read about the author itself, to maybe give you an insight to his world (his upbringing, his works, his ideologies)?
8. Were you confused at any point while reading the book? Was there any situation that you did not understand or comprehend or you felt was out of place? Did that affect your reading or thoughts about the book and the author at any point?
9. Note down your favorite part of the book, and your favorite quote by a character. What was it about them that appealed to you?
10. Was reading the book a learning experience? If yes, what did the book teach you?
11. Would you cheer for the book, and recommend it to others?
12. Did you like the author’s style of writing? Would you read more from his collection? Why or why not?
Recording all the above will in a way help you review the book better. It will broaden your thought process, your evaluation power and of course help you explore different genres of books and authors.
To conclude, maintaining a book journal or a reading log is a good practice. If you include a list of books that you wish to read in a particular month or year, the log will help you remember and attain your target too.
Let’s not forget, it will give you a good practice of expressing yourself, which in turn may help hone your writing skills. So, go get started tiger! It’s time to pen your thoughts.