Sunday Salon: Reading Journal

I really enjoy bloggers who write as if they are keeping a reading journal. The ones that do not just post reviews once they have finished a book, but also talk about starting a particular book, or how they are getting on with the author halfway through. I am not saying I do not enjoy other type of blogs, because I do, and I envy a whole lot of them for their quality and style. It’s just that lately I have been fascinated with the type of writing that goes into posts of the “reading journal” variety. I have been thinking if I could incorporate some elements of it in my own blog. I think I try to do so with my Thursday Tea posts, but I’d like to feel comfortable with just writing down thoughts on books I’m in the middle of, what kind of reading mood I am in, what I think I might pick up in the upcoming days.. I have a feeling I may not be very good at those type of posts (though I sure am good at rambling, but it is not really the same, is it?), but I love the sneak peek into people’s reading lives that those posts enable. Another thing I’d like to add to my list of things I want to be comfortable doing on my blog. I swear, one of these days I will rewrite my about page in a decent manner.*

Alejandra Karageorgiu, source: Alexandra's Pinterest

This past week I struggled a little with reading while finishing up my Phd proposal. I found it hard to concentrate on any of the books I loved reading a few days before that: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, I Capture the Castle.. Instead, I picked up Divergent by Veronica Roth, which was just the kind of book I needed. This weekend, things having calmed down again a little, I also finished I Capture the Castle, which will be added to my list of favourites. Now, I am in the middle of The Third Miss Symons and I started reading Goddess Interrupted as a netgalley review copy, but I can’t muster much excitement about the book at the moment.

I am starting to think that this year, up to now, has been about discovering how much I enjoy dystopian Young Adult novels and catching up on well-loved novels that I have missed out on all these years. Overall, the reading these past two months has been really good. I have read many books that I know will end up as favourites of the year. Actually, I have already begun to worry a little how on earth I am supposed to write a “top 10 reads of 2012” post at the end of the year.

Having graduated, my reading pace has picked up. I am now at 25 books read in 2012. I know that the amount of books read a month will probably dwindle again sometime, but I do enjoy the feeling of reading so much.

What is not working particularly well is the Bottom of the TBR pile Challenge I undertook with Amy and Amanda. I have only finished 2 of the books on that list so far. My list contains books I bought pre-2008. I try to pick up books from that list, but I can’t say that I am overly excited about many of them at the moment.

Next year, I won’t be able to compile a list for books bought pre-2009 because I deleted all the books in my Library Thing account and have started cataloguing anew. My catalogue was a mess and I hadn’t updated it properly for over a year. Now, I am going through my shelves. I am currently about 1/3rd through and I am shocked by the amount of TBR books on my shelves. As you can see, I now have 276 books listed, of which 176 are unread. *hides* I do try to read from my shelves, and I haven’t bought a single book this year (if you do not count the four books my boyfriend bought me as a gift), and yet the TBR pile does not seem to shrink. Perhaps it is because in between I am reading a lot on my ereader, which involves free classics and netgalley books, both of which I do not count as TBR pile books. I love my ereader for reading in bed during my sleepless nights. With my small nightlight attached to the reader, I don’t wake up B. and I don’t have to lie awake worrying.

What I do enjoy about re-cataloguing my books on Library Thing is finding out about all the amazing titles I own. It is weird how often we forget about all the books we own and instead compile lists of books we’d like to own. I think I will stick with this no-book-buying thing a while longer (not that I have a choice, since I don’t have the money). Perhaps, by the end of the year, I will have made a smallish dent. I have to admit that I do dream of all the books I’d still love to own. Perhaps a monthly wish list post is in order? But I’d like to do one featuring not just new releases, but also books that have been on my wish list for forever. I have been toying with the idea of a “long-term wish list” feature for ages, but I admit, I kind of hate the name.

* Terri of Tip of the Iceberg coincidentally posted about the same topic this Sunday, visit her blog and see what she has to say.

17 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Reading Journal

  1. Ellen Rhudy

    Lately, I’ve been more and more enjoying those journal-style posts people put up, although I tend to write just straight reviews on my blog. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing some of those posts on my blog, too…maybe in part because due to a bunch of factors (gorgeous weather, an albania-heavy reading list for my research, and reading mostly chick lit and sue grafton when i’m not reading for work) I don’t have as many books I want to review. It seems like so much fun to just reflect on what I’ve been reading, and why. If you do decide to expand from the thursday tea posts and do more journal stuff…well, I’ll enjoy reading it.

  2. Ellie

    Hi Iris! I have to agree that getting a sneaky peek into people’s everyday reading lives is something I LOVE on book blogs – which is probably why I also love LibraryThing so much! And I ALSO agree that it’s amazing how quickly a book hoarder can forget all the great books they have already waiting on their shelves… Sometimes if I’m combing my LT library for some challenge title ideas, or searching for a particular book on my shelves, I’ll be surprised by some of the stuff I come across and wonder why I haven’t picked it up yet. And yet the lure of the new (and the newly discovered – my wishlist is far from being all new titles) never goes away… Fantastic post anyway, I really enjoyed it – and I wish you a great year of denting that TBR pile!

  3. priscilla

    I’ve been thinking about posting more while I’m reading instead of only when I am finished, especially because I seem to be reading so slowly these days. It’s not as though we don’t have thoughts and feeling as we read, so when you think about it, it’s almost more unnatural to wait until we’re finished to talk about what we read. The immediacy of reading is more interesting in so many ways! I also hear you about the TBR pile. I even returned all my library books because I decided it was time to conquer my own stacks, or at least make a substantial dent.

  4. Caroline

    I hardly if ever write that type of journal post but oh do I love them. I like them so much that I really wonder why I don’t do it. I think I’m afraid that I would place to much emphasis on myself and it does feel a bit indecent to me. I never mind it when others do but I feel self-conscious. I’m used to do it off line in my own diary and the most interesting things about a book go often into the diary, and not the blog. In my diary I’m much more interested in my reactions to a book, what mood it creates and write about books I?ve only just started, will maybe never finish but still got something out of the first pages.
    I bought Divergent two days ago. I’m so drawn to dystopian YA as well. I like to mix and chnage from literary to YA.
    In any case, I’m sure you will write wonderful journal posts. I’ve read a few of your Thursday Tea posts and enjoyed them very much.

  5. Jillian ♣

    I’m also focusing on the books I own. I have a giant list on my blog, so I can see them and cross them out, and I keep track of what I own and have read vs. what I own and have yet to read, on Goodreads. But I also have a wish list.🙂

    I love the “reading journal” type of posts too. I think you do it every well.🙂 x

  6. Parrish

    I do like the peek they give into an individuals reading world, but I need to see the whole book before I can write about it, to compare then collate my notes into some semblance of order to attempt to get across my impressions, meaning that if I posted journal fashion, I’m not sure even I would understand it. So I’ll keep reading those that do it well, like yourself(I love the way that you place yourself into your posts) & keep on with my own attempts to understand & not be

  7. Terri B.

    Oh how funny! We wrote about the same thing this week. Even used the same label and title!

    I enjoy reading journal type posts too. I’m curious what people are thinking while reading a book, etc.

    I didn’t search through your blog yet to see if you’ve read Wither by Lauren DeStefano. It’s YA dystopian. I thought it was done well. I think the second in the series is out already. I’m behind🙂

  8. Michelle

    I understand your frustrations with the ever-popular TBR pile. Mine hasn’t seemed to shrink as much as I would have liked, even though I have only read books from it this year and have only purchased one or two so far, compared to one or two per week last year – or so it seemed. Good luck getting through yours!

  9. Jenny

    I need to be better about reading the books I already own. I am woefully prone to checking out twenty books at once from the library, and completely ignoring the easily-one-hundred unread books on my shelves. I did the TBR shelf thing for a while, but it was hard to clear things off it (I had no way of disposing of them once I’d read them!), and I lost some of my enthusiasm for it.

  10. Diana

    I, too, am currently not adding book purchases to my shelves (out of necessity) and it’s killing me! Not a day goes by when I don’t think of a title I’d love to purchase. But it’s been good for me to read more books I’ve owned for a while. I’ve been forced to make time for texts I’ve been meaning to read for ages.

    I also recently read I Capture the Castle (it was a Christmas present) and I absolutely fell in love with it. I devoured it in a matter of hours and already can’t wait for a reread. Such an enchanting novel!

  11. Pingback: Reading Journal! « Fat Books & Thin Women

  12. Eva

    I’ve been considering trying out some more journal-ly posts as well! hehe One of my dilemmas, though, is that now I’m scheduling posts in advance, the journal aspect wouldn’t be super current.

    Anyway, I enjoyed this post today & think you should do them regularly!😀

  13. Petya

    Oh! I am so glad to read this! It’s how I blog… mostly because I don’t have the time, patience… and, well… skills to write proper book reviews. Ha!

    Blogging has become so competitive! Keeping things low-key and personal is so refreshing!

    P.S. I am a new reader! Love your blog and think your readers are super nice!

  14. 88novels

    Interesting post Iris! I mostly write about books only when I finish reading them, but I can see how the journal-type posts could be interesting.

    One thing I also find very interesting is other people’s reading habits. How to choose what to read next, when do you stop reading something you don’t really like, reading goals, resolutions (or resolving not to make any resolutions at all) etc.

    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! As you said, it is nice to discover other Dutch book bloggers, and I look forward to another Dutch Literature month. Most of what I read is English literature, but there is some Dutch literature I really want to pick up.

  15. amymckie

    Ooohhhh re-cataloguing your books sounds awesome! I’m jealous and wish I could do the same, but there is no way. I miss all my books that are back home in PEI!

    Also, I think you could write well on anything Iris! Love your thoughts on reading and status. I am so happy to hear you enjoyed I Capture the Castle too😀

  16. buriedinprint

    I love the kind of reading years that get you in a panic about how you’ll possibly choose a slim list of favourites more than half a year ahead of that cuz you’ve had so many great reads in such a short time!


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