Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bookkeeping - book reports, book reviews, and book notes

When I first began writing regularly about the books I read, it occurred to me to use the old book reports model from school. I went all over the internet trying to find a form and I couldn't. I remember certain facets from when I was in elementary school like characters, plot, and locale but not exactly how to put them together into a book report. So instead, I decided to just write what I thought about the books I read. I loved the way I could find links and pictures online which related to my reading experience. These book reports are very personal. I'm not trying to be objective. I try to say what I think, and offer enough information so readers of my letters may decide for themselves if a book appeals to them or not.

And now I come to an idea which I've been mulling over for some time - occasionally offering shorter versions of my book reports and calling them book notes. I don't always want to do a long book report. Sometimes I want to state 'just the facts,' with a only a brief explanation of the book and how I felt about it. Once in a while there just isn't that much to say, but yet I want to write something because I use my blog as a book journal. So from now on you will see book reports sometimes, and book notes other times. I may have some posts where I write about a couple books at a time, or even some monthly roundups of books.

I'm also going to change the way I organize my book reports/book notes. For years now I've kept both 'Book Lists' and 'Book Reports' (see tabs under blog header photo). I began the two categories back when I wasn't writing about each book I read, and I jotted down the ones I had read under Book Reports. Now that I write about all the books I read, I am going to discontinue the 'Book Reports' listing. All the books I write about are highlighted under Book Lists, and if clicked will lead you to the book report. I don't need to have duplicate records.

This year I added an 'Authors' tab, which is the place to go if you are looking for a certain author whose book has been mentioned here. The titles by those authors are also clickable to find the particular book reports. Because of this addition, I no longer need to keep my Agatha Christie lists, since everything I've read by her may be found there or under short stories. I may add the list of Christmas books, formerly under book reports to book lists or perhaps make a separate tab just for those seasonal readings. I'm not going to keep the Book Reports as a tab, but the category will always be there under Letter Topics.

All these little changes will make my blogging a bit easier with less busywork, and more fun, methinks. Probably a lot more fun than it was for you to read this long explanation!


  1. Yes, it is that time of year when we have a little more time to do our house keeping. Or in this case blog keeping. Sounds like a plan to me.

  2. I think your explanation of plans sounds very sensible. I do love the way you tell about your reading experience - along with "show and tell" parts.

    I'm still struggling with reading and settling to any one book. Not sure what this will mean for any reviews (or book reports) if I finally finish a book. I think more than anything else, I don't want to have to rehash the book. I have decided to start using the publisher's summary. I did that in the beginning, but so many seemed to do their own and I thought, well, guess that's how it is supposed to be done. Now, I don't think there is any "have to" way. I may end up writing two sentences about my experience - liked it, favorite part, loved this character, whole book made me think of this, or examples such as that. What do you think?

  3. Thanks, Ernestine! I'm always thinkin' :<)

    Lisa, you are right!

    Kay, I just sent you an email about how I choose books sometimes.
    I love your scheme! Much like what I am thinking!

  4. I like your plans, Nan. I too am thinking about how to use my book blog, maybe after RIP VI or possibly next year. I want less hassle. Maybe I'll just write about the books I really loved and do brief accounts of the others or just mention them in my monthly post. Sometimes I find it fun to read, say, three crime books in a row and do a three book post... short reviews of all of them. One thing I know, something has to give.

    The picture of your house in your header is really stunning.

  5. Thank you, Cath! Can you tell it needs paint? :<) I like all of what you wrote about your book blogging plans.

  6. Love the idea of Booknotes...Book Reports sound rather tedious considering the amount we read, although of course some book elicit a gut reaction we simply must share from time to time!

    You have won Her Fearful Symmetry from my literary give-away hop. Please leave me the mailing address to that beautiful home in your header (

  7. Book reviews and reports are always subjective, and I like reading yours - they have influenced the way I write my reviews, you know!
    As for the list of authors etc., that seems a lot of extra work; if I am looking for something specific in a blog, I simply use the search bar in the top left corner of the blog.

  8. I love this idea. I may borrow (giving credit, of course) one of your statements to use on my blog. I find no longer want to write long, involved reviews for every single book I read. I'm quite content to give a brief synopsis with a favorite passage or two.

    Kay, I stopped writing up my own summary and started using the publisher's quite some time ago. I think you and I are on the same page with how we want to blog these days. :)

  9. Book Notes ~ great idea! I'd love to see a Christmas titles your spare time of course ;-)

    Now, the header picture is lovely!
    I assume it's your home?
    Very cozy looking to me.

    I am off to get the house ready. Weekend guests....


  10. It seems to be that time of year when we all focus on organization. I like your plan... have been thinking I should do author and title tabs. Still thinking about a better way to talk about books I read. My 'reviews' aren't working lately and are such a struggle to write.

  11. Bellezza, it will be nice to just write a couple lines sometimes, just to remind me what the book was all about. And, as I just emailed you, I am thrilled that I won the book!!!

    Librarian, that's true about the search button. I mostly did it for myself. I like having a place I can see all the authors in one place that I've read in these years I've kept the blog. I really do use it as a journal!

    Les, you don't need to give me credit. :<) You know what - I never read the publisher's notes on a book. They invariably tell me more than I want to know. I just skip past and read the impressions of the blog writer.

    Niki, I did the Christmas books tab last evening! I love having them in a separate, easy to find place like that. My Christmas reading is a very important part of my reading life. I love those books. Thank you for being interested in it. And yes, that's the olde farmhouse. :<)

    JoAnn, mine haven't been exactly a struggle but I do spend a fair bit of time on them. I think the booknotes will be a quick and easy way to jot down impressions. I don't know quite what you mean by yours haven't been 'working.'

  12. Great ideas. I remember hating book reports in school and yet I do them so willingly on my blog now.

  13. I love to write my impressions of all the books I read. Now I need to learn better how to arrange my blog and particularly how to add pictures. It used to be easy on Blogger but they changed it and now I don't have time to figure it all out. Bummer.

    Mainly blogging keeps me writing at a time in my life when I don't have periods of time or the ability to concentrate enough to write my book.

  14. Good idea. I don't think bloggers should be feel obliged to post lengthy book reviews. Just an impression or quotation with your thoughts can be enough and readers can always go to Amazon for a whole range of reviews!

  15. I like the new approach, Nan. I gave up giving every book I read equal blog attention this year and haven't regretted it. Much better to put that time into reading more books!! :)

  16. The reviewing CAN be so tedious. I advocate any and all changes to make the experience more fun!

  17. Fall cleaning. Good idea. I've been doing some tinkering at my blog as well. Sprucing things up.

    It's that time of year. Whatever you do, Nan, I know it will fine. It's always easier if you're comfortable. :)

  18. I've been thinking about what directions to take my blog in too (must be something about the time of year!) and I think what you say is so sensible. I've got out of the way of doing a monthly post and I think that, at the very least, I shall try to get back to doing that, but I like your idea of booknotes very much. After all, the most important thing about blogging is that it should be a pleasure!

  19. This level of organization is impressive. I just write the thing and fling it out there. Bye bye. Done. It would probably be a good idea to get more orderly about it, but trying to be realistic . . . Not gonna happen. So interesting, though, to hear your ideas.

  20. Barbara, you're writing a book!!

    That's exactly right, Vintage Reader! Did my first one today and it was a breeze. :<)

    Marcia, I agree completely. Actually, you were rather my role model in this new venture!

    Jenclair, thanks!

    Thanks, Yvette. As Marcia said, I'd rather use the time reading instead of writing about reading. :<) Though sometimes I really do want to write more. That's when I will do a more traditional book report.

    Geranium Cat, I'm finding it so interesting that others are thinking along this same line. I did my first 'book notes' today but even this entry was a little longer than I expect some of them will be. :<)

    Very funny, Read Ramble!

  21. Ah, yes, I remember this post! I didn't mean to ride on its coattails as I wrote mine this morning; while they're very similar, I guess I was trying to remind myself I don't have to be compulsive. I think I'll write that on my mirror in lipstick as a constant reminder for life in general, blogging on books in particular! xo

  22. Everything evolves, which is why we should always BEGIN. Then it can become easier and more useful for the creator as well as the audience. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

  23. Bellezza, I knew they weren't really alike, just that I was letting myself write shorter posts about books when I felt like it. I can't imagine how you write so well and so often when you have a full time job!

    Pat, those were brilliant words!! Thank you. I'm going to keep them in my quotes folder.

  24. Actually I really enjoyed reading the explanation, because I love reading how good bloggers blog. I can't seem to integrate book posts into my blog -- I really wanted to, but it just doesn't seem to work for me. I am mulling over different ideas too,.

  25. Sallie, you are always so very nice. You could always just choose a day of the week for Sallie's book review!


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