Trying Something New: 2017 Reading Journal

I’m 99% committed to start using this Leuchtturm1917 Ex Libris Private Reading Journal in 2017. My sister-in-law gave it to me last Christmas and I’ve been eyeballing it as it sat patiently on my shelf for the last year. We’ll see how it goes.

Leuchtturm1917 Ex Libris Private Reading Journal (

I have a habit of starting and abandoning reading journals. I’ll begin one, but soon my reading notes start showing up on bookmarks, index cards, loose leaf paper (I love both bound journals and binders–a love that sometimes causes organizational conflict). I also underlined books, write marginalia, and use sticky tabs, but I’m not really into highlighting.

Granted, not all books spark the same level of engagement to take notes, but I like the idea of having one physical place where I chronologically record information about what I’ve read. I use Goodreads more regularly than the detailed spreadsheet I try to keep, but neither is very tactile and I get tired of screens. I’m also feeling like I want some of my reading life to be . . . not exactly private, but not so . . . public.

Leuchtturm1917 Ex Libris Private Reading Journal -
Page shot

As you can see in the page shot above, there’s one page to chronicle each book. The prompts are:

  • Title (book or audio)
  • Author
  • Read (when? where?)
  • Date of Publication
  • Original Language
  • Genre
  • Notes/Questions
  • Appraisal (1-6)
  • Gift from/Discovered by
  • Gift to

But there’s not much room for reading notes.

So, I’m thinking I’ll use this journal for the big picture. I’ll jot down general thoughts in the ‘notes’ section after finishing a book and my “real time” reading notes will still manifest however they need to (and then get filed or tossed or, as is often the case, lost). This will work well when I’m reading multiple books as the Leuchtturm will maintain the chronology that I’m so fond of, yet I’ll be able to take as many notes as I want on a book without worrying about space restrictions.

The journal has 252 pages. Of these 156 pages are for book entries, which will be about 2-3 years of reading for me (my annual goal is to read 52 books). There are also tabs in the back for ‘books to read,’ ‘to give,’ ‘lent to/borrowed from,’ and a blank tab for my own category. Especially helpful are alphabetized index pages to easily locate entries on past reads.

It’s looking like writing this post has helped me work through that 1% of doubt.

Do you keep a reading journal or have a system for note taking? I’d love to hear about it if you’re willing to share.

Product page:
Leuchtturm1917 Ex Libris Private Reading Journal


  1. Nice notebook! This year I've just been recording basic title/author/publisher information in my Folio Society calendar. I record each book on the date that I finish it. I'm terrible about doing more detailed notes on paper so I think I'll probably stick with that == though I need to get a new calendar. Hope your new system works for you.

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