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The Unexpected Benefits of Keeping a Reading Log

Recently, I started keeping a reading log. It's not something I ever worried about doing before, mostly because I thought it would be annoying to keep up with, another unnecessary chore to add to my daily list. I thought I wouldn't want to write about all of the books I work my way through given how quickly I read and how many things I read at once. However, when I spotted a cute little reading journal at Books-A-Million last year, I liked the design so much that I figured there wouldn't be any harm in giving it a try.

And oh, dear reader, what a difference it has made!

I started my entries with a brief recap of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, a book I'd read in the airport and on the plane to and from visiting my boyfriend in early 2019. It was a captivating read, fast-paced and strange and slightly terrifying, and, as is usual when I finish a new book, I wanted to gush about it to anyone that would listen. This is where the log really shines. I was able to fully analyze the story in specific categories, quantifying it in a way that made sense. Each review page also has plenty of room to leave commentary and critiques.

I had only just begun to write more serious review pieces here, and I found that having a shorthand overview to reference, as well as a record of where and when a book was read, makes writing those reviews much easier and allows me a bit more freedom to create an honest, clear piece that I'm proud of.

This particular journal also contains some extras, like reading lists in different genres, places to write down book club information, and places to keep a record of personal favorite books and authors, which I thought was adorable and which gave me more of a chance to get my thoughts onto paper (an essential skill, as a writer).

This funny little book has made me want to read more. I was incredibly excited to fill out more of it, as every written page made it feel more personal, like a more focused version of a diary. I find that I am finishing my novels and nonfiction faster so that I can enter my thoughts and commentary into my little black book. It's the same feeling of accomplishment that checking off a to-do list gives me, a sense of achievement that satisfies the part of my brain that doesn't like the fact that the majority of my work is done from a desk in my bedroom rather than a "real" job.

I'd definitely recommend keeping a reading log. It's fun and pleasant and a nice, productive distraction in a time when those are few and far between.

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