Ranking Books and Bullet Journals

Warning: This entry is rambly because it’s about books AND bullet journals and I just can’t contain my enthusiasm enough around either topic to create a logical thought flow. BUT! I do ask for input towards the end so if you can make it through the Stream of Consciousness part you might have some interesting thoughts to share.

One of my friends sent me this video and I effectively froze from inspiration. Like…I felt like all I could do was think about this woman’s amazing bullet journal pages for her reading logs etc and I could not stop thinking about it and how maybe I could incorporate something similar into my bullet journal. I mean…not as pretty OBVIOUSLY…but maybe with similar functionality?

Oh…I guess I should note: I shut down my bullet journal site. My instagram account still has a lot of followers but once all of the artistic people like the woman in that video entered the arena, no one cared about my content anymore. I got a lot of attention because I was one of the firsts…but now there are so many other people to follow I’ve kinda pittered out posting about my bullet journal. BUT I STILL USE IT! So I’m going to talk about this here.

My plan is to start a new volume of a bullet journal in January. That may sound normal to you but it hasn’t worked out that way for me in a few years. Usually I just start a new one when I need a new one. This year, it’s going to actually work out to be January! So…I’m thinking I might plan out some pages to put in that bullet journal to kinda serve as a more detailed account of thoughts on books I’m reading. Because, while I log/rate in Goodreads, I don’t like leaving anything even remotely critical in a review because I’m terrified the author will see it. And when I do…I weigh it heavily with phrases like, “This is a reader problem, not an author problem.”

BUT! I’d like to actually remember why I hated books. And maybe not fret too much about spoilers like you have to on Goodreads. So I think I’ll use my bullet journal for that.

I’d also like to maybe do a chart marking books whose authors are women/queer/indigenous/black etc. I have really been trying to make sure the VAST majority of books I read are not written by cis-het white dudes and I’d like to see that visually.

Finally…and this is what this post was supposed to be about. I’d like to come up with a better “rating” system for books. I hate five stars because to me – that implies that all books exist on this spectrum from BAD to GOOD and I just don’t think that I think linearly about all books the same way.

Here’s a few of the ways I rank books that do not all fit into a linear 5-star scale. I’d like to figure out how to represent these on bullet journal pages. Also: Do you have any either similar rating systems? Or more concise ways you note how you feel about a book?

  • DO I OWN IT/WANT TO OWN IT: To me this is always a sign I liked a book if I either own it or it’s on the list of books I’d buy if I saw them at a thrift store. I don’t keep books on my shelves I don’t like. It’s a simply yes/no metric that can quickly asses my thoughts on a book.
  • RECOMMENDATION CLASSIFICATION: “Would recommend to any generic book lover,” or “Would recommend to anyone on a journey of learning about race issues,” or “Would recommend to any adult who loves YA books,” etc.
  • RECOMMENDATIONS WITH CAVEATS: Sometimes I’m like, “This book was great if you don’t mind a little unrealistically wrapped up endings.” or “This book was perfect if you don’t mind time jumps.” Because there are some things I know a lot of people struggle with and I wouldn’t want to forget those things later.
  • How easy was it to read, how much did it suck me in: Sometimes a book kept me focused and hooked and I loved it while I was reading it, but it’s not going to stick with me at all. So I might recommend it because it’s an “easy” read, like it might be thrilling, but I wouldn’t own it because once I was done with it I stopped thinking about it. This is the type of book that’s really hard for a 5-start rating system because…as soon as I close it I might say, “I loved that!” and I might recommend it to everyone I know, but if I don’t care to own it can I give it 4 or 5 stars? It just feels weird.

I’m not sure if i do some sort of weird chart, if I come up with coded symbols, or what but I’d really like to figure out some way to streamline my thoughts on the above categories into some sort of cute representation for the books I’ll be reading in 2022. Let me know if you have any ideas.

For now, here is something I did in October. I printed up the book covers page from Goodreads and made a few short notes on each read.

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