How my reading journal helped me evolve


As a reader, it is extremely important to read vastly before you finally conclude what you like reading in terms of authors and genres. I started like that too and realised that I love reading. Period. There is no barrier to genres, authors or languages. Even with such a vast option of books to choose from, I had reached a phase where I felt I was getting too mechanical with my reading. I mean read because its a habit, know the story and end of it.

Then of course being a book blogger I fell for the Goodreads challenge where I would end up reading 400-500 titles a year and still not particularly enjoy the whole thing. It became more of a challenge, a desire to outdo other readers and to stay on top. Book choices became mechanical, I would pick the easiest ones, the shortest ones, the illustrated ones... just to complete the challenge.

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This continued happily till one year when I felt exhausted. The review copies were increasing by my bed side, the TBR had become never ending and the self-bought books had now been untouched for years. A hobby that was supposed to be fun and entertaining was now beginning to get stressful. That is when I decided to decrease the number of copies I accepted for review. Helped slightly, but still the reading mojo was not up. That is when I came across this brilliant idea of having a reading journal.

I started maintaining one since beginning of 2017 and boy oh boy! The sheer thrill it brought back to my reading that now, I don't want to stop it. Well for starters I do not have any fancy reading journal style. It more of a mess, random scribblings all over the place. But it is what I scribble there that makes the difference. I write about anything and everything that is striking about the book. Maybe the way the writers have named the characters to give out a hidden message, or that song the hero keeps humming all the while or maybe that book the villain keeps referring to. A quote that needs to be understood at length as it refuses to allow me to move on with the book. Or a song that came to my mind while reading a scene. Does this remind me of a movie? If this was made into a movie, whom do I see enacting these roles?

That dress she is wearing sounds so beautiful. Can I sketch it to see if I am right? Oh man that recipe to make Choco-chips cookies at home smells divine, need to note it down and make it super soon. Will mom love that embroidered saree she is buying for her sister?  The hero made some special pasta for their date night. Reads well, can I try it for the weekend?

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The questions were endless and so were the scribblings. I had sketches, analysis. Interpretations. Thoughts. Banal ideas rising from the concept of the story. Just about every single feeling that book evoked in me was documented in the journal. Few weeks of doing it and lo and behold! Before I knew it my reading mojo was back with a bang. Well, it now has expanded to included bookish references from movies and documentaries that I watch or notice with other people during my travels. In short, it is all about my bookish love.

The journal, I noticed much later, helped me evolve. Not only as a reader but also as a writer. I began to notice the minutest things in story telling, the art of expressing somethings through actions and still capturing it subtly in words. The beauty of the unknown and the power of the unspoken is what I discovered through this journal.

Today, when I look back, I realise that there is so much to appreciate in every expression of art. Come to think of it, both, my movie journal and reading journals have added to my ability to read and write better apart from of course expanding my thinking ability as an individual. It helped me evolve as a better human being and opened my mind to the vast world with its various school of thoughts in it.

Comments

  1. Sounds like an interesting idea. So many thoughts come to your mind when you read a book or watch a movie.

    400-500 titles!! God. I cannot even think of doing that. But you know I admire you the way you read any genre. I am very impatient and kind of finicky when it comes to reading. It annoys me. I want to enjoy and like every book I read but these days I end up leaving so many well loved books unfinished. I like to read at my own pace. My goodreads challenge is 36 books. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hey Tarang, you are so right! There are so many thoughts in our mind when we are reading. And yes! Am guilty of doing that in the past but right now I cannot even think how did I manage that. This year even my goal is 36 and that looks huge :)

      I am slowly finding my pace first to then start reading it according to that.

      I admire you for your ability to see minute things about a story. Love your thoughtful observations on the books you read that you share on twitter or in your reviews.

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