Tell me about reading journals

I’ve heard people talking about keeping reading journals. I get the general idea that the reader writes down every book s/he reads, and probably the author too, but exactly what other information do you put down in these journals? I probably won’t bother with things like the publisher and reprint number, unless the particular volume in question is something like “in the original Middle English” (which won’t happen, I can’t understand Middle English), or “Annotated by X” or “Translated by X”. Does each re-reading of the same book count as a separate entry, or do you go back to the original entry and note that you re-read the book? Do you have separate journals for fiction and nonfiction?

Please, tell me everything that you find useful in keeping a reading journal, and what you don’t.

It’s not a journal, exactly, but I use the website goodreads.com to catalog my books. It’s free and it’s easy to enter books (it uses the Amazon database). There are several Dopers using the site.

I enter a review for most of the books I read, and since I keep my books I do try to enter the specific edition that I have. I enter the date that I read the book and I categorize it as science fiction, for example, or something even more specific. I really like being able to sort my books by category.

I keep a list by year. Title and author. If I’m feeling ambitious, maybe a brief plot summary, what I liked or didn’t like. It’s mostly to help me remember in case someone asks about it later.

The other stuff – ISBN, publication date, page count, etc. is available on-line, and it isn’t important to me anyway.

Wow - this sounds cool! I was in a book club before, and enjoyed discussing what people thought. But my SO and several of my friends are librarians & teachers, and now that Eleanor mentioned it, it does seem like I’ve heard them talk about it.

Can other people read what you thought of a particular book? and comment? Is it like a blog?

I need to get back to reading more. I have spent so much time catching up on movies and TV series I missed, I’ve kind of let that part go a little.

I also use Goodreads to list my books. I categorize mine by year it was read, whether it was a re-read, partial reads, and audiobooks. I don’t bother with reviews on that site because I usually put reviews here, in** Khadaji**’s monthly threads.

I find that keeping a list is only mildly interesting. On the other hand, it comes in very handy when I want to respond to a thread like Your Top 5 Reads from 2009.

Here’s the Straight Dope group on Goodreads, should anyone want to join: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/822.SDMB_Straight_Dope

Yes, you can make friends, like on Facebook, and they can follow your reviews and see any comments you make on books, and you can likewise see anything they post. You can also compare your book list with a friend’s list and Goodreads will tell you how many books you have in common.

But if you don’t want to participate in the social aspects of the site, you can set your profile to private and set it up so that no other users will bother you.

Actually, I was thinking of keeping a journal for myself. Handwritten, in a blank book. Something that I might share with my best friend, maybe, but nobody else.

I’ll look into the online versions and see if they have what I need. I wasn’t even aware that there WERE dedicated online versions.

Growing up, several of my acquaintances would keep a journal like this with them as they studied the Bible or read other religious books - they found it helpful to go back and read their journals later on and compared how what they read and how they interpreted it was affected by what was going on in their lives at that time, and vice versa.

I could see how having a handwritten journal like that could be interesting, if as you read a book, you might jot down your reactions or whatever.

I know you didn’t necessarily mean it that way - but that’s what came to mind as I read your post.

I keep a tally in Excel (1,187 books read since 2005) and I have a Goodreads account. I really enjoy both - looking at my reading lists brings back a lot of memories.