From Bookcrossing to Book Journaling

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” I think this is the second time I’ve quoted Oscar Wilde, so maybe I should clarify here that I’m not a fan. But you know the saying about a broken clock. Actually, Wilde’s words carry the ring of the wise man who said, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

I can’t remember a time in my life where books were not some of my closest companions. Before I could ever read a word, my mother filled my imagination with people and places from far away lands, beginning with little Mary Lennox in Yorkshire. Understanding cholera may have proved a challenge for my four-year-old mind, but rude, ill-natured children I completely grasped. I do believe the hours spent in an English secret garden mediated through the prose of Frances Hodgson Burnett sealed the deal—stacked paper and black ink would become my wings, taking me to worlds unknown.

Just think. Once upon a time books resided as prisoners in monasteries. But then the light broke through, the prisoners were freed, and the printing presses filled the earth with their offspring.

So when I happened upon the word “bookcrossing” the other day, my curiosity led me to this site. Bookcrossing is the act of releasing your books “into the wild” (any place of your choosing) so that a complete stranger can find them and use the number on the inside cover (which you place there) to register their new ownership with the BookCrossing website. The new owner then releases her find into the wild (after reading the book, of course), and the process begins again. The original owner can follow the travels of her books all over the world.

If you’re interested in sharing your books in this manner, sign up. Our little community has a “Share Box” that I frequent, so I’m thinking I may try bookcrossing in the near future. What a great way to share Christian literature and see where God sends it!

One thing leads to another, you know, so before I could say “free is good,” I found myself on this website. I honestly don’t know much about it beyond the fact that I love the name—Modern Mrs. Darcy—but here I found a real treasure.

If you could see my desk, you would wonder how I get anything done at all. I’m looking at three separate stacks of notes and they’re not even neatly stacked. Sandwiched within are important phone numbers, quickly scrawled passwords, and notes, lots and lots of notes, mostly from books I’ve read. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an organized notebook for all my books notes, the preponderance of what lies before me?

Mrs. Darcy to the rescue. Under a post titled, “The MMD printable reading journal,” I found a subscriber link that entitled me to the free PDF file. I downloaded it, printed the pages, and then cut them in half with a rotary cutter. I’m not known for doing things the easy way; I’m just comfortable cutting things like a quilter.


A lot of thought went into this journal, which was obviously created by a truly committed reader. It includes pages for listing books you want to read, books you’ve abandoned, book entry spreads for thoughts and quotes, extra note-taking pages, classic book lists, and lots of bookish quotes sprinkled around for the fun of it. For the guys, just scrunch the first page into a sphere shape and make the shot. Now you’re good to go.

In a very short expenditure of time, I held in my hands a 5.5 x 8.5 book journal, and a substantial one at that.


So I’m enjoying happy thoughts today as I contemplate all the books I don’t have to read but will, and all the evenly stacked pages of notes sharing one small space, tidy and organized, ready to take on a life of their own in some future blogpost.

I began with Wilde, so I’ll end with Luther: “One Book is enough, but a thousand books is not too many!”

So true, so true. . .





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