My Reading Habits
Of all my hobbies and interests, my absolute favorite thing to do with my free time is read. There is nothing I love more than sprawling out on the couch with a cold Pepsi and a really good book. I love to lose myself between the pages of someone else’s story. I’m a happier person in every way when I’m taking time to read.
However, I had a pretty lackluster reading year in 2017. I read a lot of books over the year—52 in total—but I was generally disappointed with the quality of what I read. Most of the books I read were only mediocre, and I wasted a lot of time stressing about reading popular books or new releases, even when they didn’t necessarily appeal to me.
I want to have a better reading year this time around. I’ve set a goal to read 52 books again this year, but I really want to improve the quality of what I read. Whenever I want to get better at something, I turn to my bullet journal. I’ve come up with the following six spread ideas to make me a better reader in 2018.
The TBR Bookshelf
Without question, this is my favorite page in my 2018 bullet journal. You’ve probably seen examples of the “to be read” shelf on Pinterest or Instagram, and there’s a reason it’s so popular. This is my favorite way to keep track of the books I want to read. I have more than 1,000 books in my personal library, and that can be pretty overwhelming when I finish one book and want to pick up something new.
I can fill in the book spines on this page to help me remember exactly which books I’m excited about or looking forward to so I don’t flounder by having too many options. I’ll also get to color in each book as I finish it, which will leave me with a beautiful record of my reading year when 2018 ends.
What I’ve Read List
This page is certainly more utilitarian than beautiful, but it was one of the most used pages in my 2017 bullet journal, and I couldn’t wait to bring it back. I use this list to keep track of everything I read during the year. I record the book and author, the date I finished it, and a simple star rating between 1-5. It gives me a concise way to look back at my reading year, and it makes it easy to remember which books I loved (and which ones I didn’t). Of all the pages in this post, this is the one I can’t live without.
If you feel like your list of completed books is growing too slowly or you feel like you don’t have enough time to read, you could always try Audible. Audible lets you listen to books during times that you can’t possibly read, like during your daily commute or while you clean. That way you can find more time to enjoy your reading list without being bound by a busy schedule. If you want to give it a spin, you can give Audible a shot with a 30-day free trial along with two free ebooks!
Reading Challenge Tracker
One of the ways I’m attempting to improve the quality of the books I read this year is by participating in a reading challenge. Specifically, I’m doing the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge for 2018. This challenge is designed to encourage readers to diversify the books they pick up by assigning categories such as “a romance novel by or about a person of color” or “a book with a female protagonist over the age of 60.”
I made a bingo board-style spread in my bullet journal to track my progress on the Read Harder challenge. As I complete a book that fits one of the categories. I’ll color in the corresponding box. I can’t wait to watch the page fill in with color as the year goes on. It will encourage me to step outside my comfort zone and expand the horizons of what and how I read.
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Book Club Calendar
I’m currently an active member of two different book clubs, and I co-host an online book club as well. This means that I’m committed to reading at least three specific books every month. I use my year-long book club calendar to track which books I’m reading for my various clubs, as well as which dates the clubs will be discussing them. It helps me make sure I’m on top of my reading so I can fully participate in those discussions. It’s a very minimalistic layout, but it does the job of keeping me on task and on time.
Book Club Tracker
As I mentioned, I am the co-host of an online book club. As one of the hosts, my responsibilities extend beyond simply reading a book and showing up to discuss it. Each month, my co-hosts and I choose a theme for the kind of book we’ll be reading. We each submit two choices of books we want to read that fit the theme. Since our book club is hosted on Facebook, one of us then creates a Facebook poll so that everyone in the club has the opportunity to vote. My spread allows me to track each month’s theme, possible picks, the final book of the month, and any tasks I have to complete for that month.
I’m aware that most people aren’t concerned with tracking their to-do list for the book club they host. This is definitely a spread that applies uniquely to me. But isn’t that the beauty of a bullet journal? I could never buy a planner with a pre-made book club tracker, but I can easily create one for myself.
Where Are My Books?
The last of my reading-themed pages is the “Where are my books?” list. I have a huge personal library. This means that my house has become a one-stop-shop for a lot of friends and family members when they’re looking for something to read. I love to share great books with other people, so I’m constantly loaning things out. However, it often happens that I hand someone a book, forget that I’ve done it, and then get frustrated six months later when I can’t find it on my shelves. This list allows me to keep track of where my books have gone. I write down the name of the book, who I loaned it to, when I gave it to them, and when it came back. I’m not even terribly concerned with getting my books back. It’s just nice to know where they’ve gone when I can’t find them.
Read better in 2018
We’re only a couple of months in, but I’m already having a better reading year in 2018 than I did last year. The tasks I need to complete are organized. I have a schedule in place for the books I’m committed to read at a certain time. My bullet journal is filled with beautiful trackers that I’m excited to fill in. I’m going to make this year one of the best reading years of my life, and I’ll be a better person because of it.