Tuesday, April 20, 2010

'Read, Remember, Recommend: A Reading Journal for Book Lovers'

Created by Rachelle Rogers Knight
Sourcebooks, 2010
Taken from the back cover:
A must-have for book lovers, Read, Remember, Recommend contains:

*More than 2,500 cross-referenced award-winning and notable reading suggestions from every celebrated literary award and book list available, guaranteed to help you discover great literature and new authors.

*Checklists to help you organize and keep track of books you want to read, books you've loaned out or borrowed, books you've read, and books you want to recommend.

*Journal pages to record your thoughts, ideas, and discussion points on books and authors.

*A comprehensive list of literary blogs, book award lists, and literary terms

Perfect for book clubs and anyone who loves a good book, Read, Remember, Recommend is the ultimate way to enhance your love of reading.
I've never used an actual bound reading journal, rather, for the past 8 years I've kept track of all my books read, books to be read, wish list, and many other book-related lists and info in one big Excel spreadsheet. I'm a little behind on updating it at the moment but for the most part it has worked quite well for me, and what I like most about it is having all of the information together in one place. (Yes, I do take a backup fairly regularly and keep a copy stored online just in case). More recently I sometimes also make notes on the book I'm currently reading, either in a small notebook that I've brought with me, or on my iPhone, which helps me out later when writing the review.  So I already have a system for recording information and thoughts on the books I read.  But when Carrie contacted me, offering to send me a copy of this reading journal I couldn't say no. I mean I am a book lover after all and I was curious to check it out.

The absolute best feature, in my opinion, is the first section of the journal filled with extensive award lists. I do like to keep track of some literary awards and it's wonderful to have them all in one place for easy referral. My usual favourites are there, like the Man Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, the Canadian Governor General's Literary Award, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and so on. Plus there are many other prizes and lists that I've never even heard of. What fun to peruse! The author also provides 'Fiction Award Updates' via her website, bibliobabe.com, with page references to make it easy to find and add the information to the journal.  The only downside is that for most of the award lists, there are only blank spaces available to fill in the winners for the next 2 years. Subtle marketing to make you buy a new journal in two years perhaps? 

Another very nice feature is the Resources section at the back of the journal which contains website addresses of many of the literary awards, and other online bookish places including a list of several book blogs, some of which I already know well, so it's great to see them mentioned here. Of course there are thousands of book blogs and other book-industry blogs nowadays but it's certainly a good place to start.

Otherwise, the journal is a bit too big to carry around with me to take notes on the go, and to be honest I'll probably continue to use my tried-and-true spreadsheet instead of the various journal sections in this book, for books you want to read, books you've read, books loaned out, and book recommendations, which all have a limited number of blank pages available to fill in. One suggestion, which I think would make this reading journal better, and more appealing for me, would be to have it as a binder rather than a coil-bound book. That way I could add pages to the sections that I would use the most, or even re-arrange sections to my personal preference. Or on the tech side, since I'm in love with my iPhone, an iPhone app would be very fun, and very useful, especially on the go.  I think I'd be more likely to interact with a mobile version like that. 

Final verdict? I really like the lists and will use it mainly as a reference book rather than an actual journal to write my thoughts in. But that's me. Like the blurb says, I do think it would be a wonderful resource for book lovers and book clubs.

Do you use a reading journal?

Visit the author's blog, bibliobabe.com.
Thank you to Carrie Gellin of Sourcebooks for the opportunity to review this book.

Buy Read, Remember, Recommend from Amazon.com | BookDepository.co.uk

Also reviewed by:
A Bookworm's World
A Work in Progress (with photos giving you a sneak peek inside the book)
Bermudaonion's Weblog
Diary of an Eccentric
Melody's Reading Corner
Savvy Verse & Wit
You've GOTTA read this!
If I've missed yours, let me know and I'll link to it here.

The small print:  This book was received free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.  
Links in this post to Amazon (including book cover) or The Book Depository contain my Associates or Affiliates ID respectively.  Purchases made via these links earn me a very small commission.  For more information please visit my About Page.


  1. I've heard this book mentioned positively, but I've also read that it's too big. It looks too big to be carrying around. An iPhone app would be coll (not that I have one but I love how the iPhone has all these apps related to books).

    It's cool that some of our fellow book bloggers are mentioned!

  2. I agree, I'd LOVE an iTouch app like that. I do so much online now that to write things down on paper is becoming foreign to me.

  3. I don't use a reading journal but this one is definitely a great start. I was lucky to receive it for review too and really, it's one of my favourite books now. But I'll just use it mostly for the first section which contains all those wonderful lists of books and all those columns for me to tick when I've read a particular book!

    True, it's not a small pocket book that we can carry around but it's really handy to have it around though.

    Hope you enjoy using your journal! Here is my review of it. :) Thanks!


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