My Book Journal began on July 9, 1978. On that date, I opened a small, cloth-covered journal and wrote the following: “Having wished to be able to recall the story, the phrase, the character in hundreds of books over the last twenty years, I am at long last beginning a list of Books Read.” Forty years later, my Book Journal is still a constant companion and activity.
A favorite essayist, Nicholson Baker, described “one’s own plucky ability to stay afloat—as the rest of the story and almost all literature capsizes and decays in deep corrosive oceans of totaled recall”. To prevent or at least slow that corrosion of memory, I note the title, author, date of publication, and date of completion of the books that I have read. Beginning in 2000, I added a brief review of each book journal entry, and in 2010, I moved from paper journals to Word. Now, 40 years and more than 2325 books later, I’m launching BookMarks, my web site Book Journal.
I continue to get great pleasure from reviewing and recording each of the books that I have read. In addition, returning to the Journal and reading the impressions I wrote at the time has proven to be a source of great enjoyment. Reacquainting myself with favorite characters from Jay Gatsby to Jack Reacher, from Pip to Spenser, from Dr. Bovary to Dr. Gawande, and on and on is like bumping into old friends, and a reminder of the wisdom, beauty, information, connection, and sheer pleasure that a book has given me is priceless.
Accessing those reading experiences is now considerably easier, both for me and for you. You can scroll through more than 1000 of the most recent books I’ve read and search for books by a specific author, title, or genre: contemporary fiction, short stories, classic literature, non-fiction, essays, poetry/drama, art and architecture, science/nature/gardening, and mysteries. I hope you find your next great read here.