Should You Keep a Book Journal?

I’ve kept a book journal for the past few years and I really recommend it to all readers out there! During high school I was having a hard time keeping track of what I had already read, the plotlines blending into one large and complicated story in my head. Writing in a book journal not only helped me keep track of what I had read, it also allowed me to reflect on those stories and see how my reading choices changed over time.

Every book journal is different, and they should be because we’re all different, but here is what I find works for me. I jot down the book title, author and a quick bio of the storyline. I also give the book a rating from 1 to 5 based on how much I enjoyed it and whether I would want to read it again. Even though I’ve enjoyed many books, that doesn’t necessarily mean I  want to re-read them all, especially when there are so many other great choices out there! Although I rate these books myself, I don’t publicly post a rating on my book reviews because they are so subjective and I want each reader to decide on a rating for himself or herself.

Do any of you keep a book journal? I would love to hear what works for you!

Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

Don’t judge this book by its shabby cover, like the ones found on communal shelves of cozy B&B’s around the world. A bit slow to start, Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy is a good book that kept me going through all 596 pages of it.

This was the first novel of Binchy’s that I have read and it won’t be the last. Binchy does a great job of developing characters across a wide range of ages, personalities and social classes in the mid-1900’s in Ireland.

The story begins with Eve and Benny, opposites in appearance, parentage, and personalities, and yet they become inseparable friends. One, an orphan, and the other, a smothered only child, head to university in Dublin, only a bus ride away from their small country hometown. At university the two girls are quickly swept into a circle of friends (hence the book title). The plot quickly becomes tangled with romance and heartbreak, ambition and failure, loyalty and betrayal. Binchy does a great job of bringing the characters to life, so much so that I was rooting for the fiercely loyal duo the whole way through.