Why I Started a Reading Notebook


Writers write. That is the most important for a writer to do. But just as important as writing is reading. Reading other people’s books is an education in the craft of writing. I have learnt about structure, foreshadowing, writing different genres, and creating characters from reading. Not to mention the fact that books are great sources of inspiration. I have been devouring books ever since I first learnt to read, and have read literally hundreds of books, many of which have influenced and inspired my writing. But often I forget what I’ve read, except for the truly great (or terrible books) that stick in my memory.

This is a problem. Not only does it make it harder to write my Top Ten Tuesday posts, but I can’t remember books to recommend, or to reread because of an idea, a character, or an interesting feature I liked. So to combat my chronic forgetfulness, I have started a reading notebook. It’s nothing fancy, just a place to note down which books I’ve read, and the notes don’t take long to make, but it helps me to remember books, authors, and other details important to me as both a writer and a reader.

My notebook, like most other things, is digital. I use Evernote for my notebook because it’s convenient. I can have my notebook on multiple devices, and my list of books sits beside all my other resources for blog posts. Each book has its own note, into which I put all the information I’d like to remember, such as author name, synopsis, star rating, and my thoughts on what I did and didn’t like about the book, which helps me think about the book as a writer as well as a reader. I also like to save a copy of the cover. Evernote allows me to tag each note with multiple tags so I am able to sort them by tag and find them by genre, or star rating, or author, which is very helpful.

Of course there are other good ways to keep a reading notebook, such as in a word document, in a real notebook, or maybe using some other program. But for me, Evernote works the best. My list of books I’ve read is growing, and I never have to worry about forgetting what I read and what I liked about it. As a writer, I like to know what I’ve read and where I find good inspiration, entertainment, and fantastic stories to share with others. Now, with my Evernote reading notebook, I won’t forget a thing.

Do you keep a reading notebook? How do you keep track of what you’ve read? Do you believe that it’s important to read as well as write?

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  1. Yes, yes I do this too...I call it goodreads. ;) Hehe. Sorry! But have you ever though of doing it on Goodreads? I review absolutely everything I've read because a) I have a horrific memory and could probably plan my own surprise party, and b) I love talking books with people! That's why I do like mine online. I don't review everything on my blog, which is why goodreads is handy for me. Particularly when I just want to list if I liked it or not. But I totally like your Evernote set up. It's very neat.

    1. Hehe, I probably should do it on Goodreads. It sounds much easier. But then, I would probably forget to do it. I don't use half the sites I've joined already! (Plus I kinda don't like hating on a book that I didn't enjoy. I just feel...bad about giving them a public low rating.)

  2. I use Goodreads a TON, but I do like making notes about books I'm reading if I plan to review them. That's actually part of the reason I started my blog in general - so I could review books and remember what I've read, what I liked, what I didn't, etc.

    1. I may have to investigate Goodreads at this rate. So many people use it and say it's the way to go. It's good to have some way of remembering what you've read, isn't it? I hate reading a good book and then forgetting about it. Good on you for doing reviews as well. I've thought about it, but at the moment I'm too scared of not enjoying books at other people love and then having to say it! You're much braver than I.


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