If you are a regular journal writer, you will find that some topics or themes recur consistently for you. Our mind snags on certain things and we have to keep teasing them apart till we are satisfied with how we have understood or resolved them.

Books have always been the dominant topic in my journals. That said, whenever some other major obsession or worry (work, relationships, etc.) crops up, book-related thoughts are the first to get pushed aside. This year, though I have been writing a lot of book reviews, I have been far too occupied to write as deeply about books in my journals as I would like. So, for April, let’s focus our journal prompts around books, shall we?

If you are a dedicated reader, these prompts will likely show you where you might want to fill in gaps in your reading matter.

If you’re a writer of any kind, these prompts will allow a deeper understanding the place of books in your life and give inspiration for at least a few book-writing ideas of your own. It’s worth noting that one of the main reasons institutions rush to acquire the diaries/journals of writers for their scholarly archives is because those documents often contain the rough/early drafts and the seeds of much of the writers’ works.

If you’re a blogger and you also write about books, these could also be 30 days’ worth of blog posts for you.

Oh, and if you’re not much of a reader, you can use these prompts to help you get started. Try to find books that might fit the prompt and write what you know about them and why you think they fit the prompt — I’m sure that will encourage you to then actually read some of those books too.

April Journal Prompts

1. What is your earliest book-reading memory?

2. Who are the writers/people who give you the courage to write/be whatever/whomever you want?

3. Which book do you most commonly recommend to others, and what do you hope they will get out of it?

4. Is there one book that changed your life? What was it, and how did it affect you?

5. What is the most important lesson you’ve ever learned from a book?

6. Have you ever “gotten lost” completely in a book? What did it feel like?

7. In your everyday life, how do you benefit from curling up with a good book?

8. How many books, on average, do you read per year?

9. Write about the book you’re reading currently.

10. How do you make time to read despite your busy schedule?

11. Which book do you wish you had written?

12. Which book do you consider underrated?

13. Which book do you consider overrated?

14. Which book changed your mind on an important issue?

15. Which was the last book that made you cry?

16. Which was the last book that made you laugh?

17. Which was the last book that disturbed you for days after reading it?

18. Which was the last book you could not finish?

19. Which book are you ashamed to not have read yet?

20. Which book have you not read but tell people that you have?

21. Which book do you or would you most often give as a gift to others?

22. Which book is your comfort read that you return to again and again?

23. Which book would you like to read the most that has not been written yet?

24. Which five books would you take with you on a desert island if you had to live the rest of your life there alone?

25. Which five authors — living or dead — would you invite to a dinner party?

26. Find a loved line or quote from a book and write about why it’s important to you.

27. Ideally, how many hours per day/week would you like to spend reading books? How do you think you might achieve that ideal?

28. What was the last books-related event you attended?

29. What book-related event would you love to attend?

30. Based on all the prompts of this month, what 1-2 things will you change about your book-reading habits?

In Parting

A good journal entry — like a good song, or sketch, or photograph — ought to break up the habitual and life away the film that forms over the eye, the finger, the tongue, the heart. A good journal entry ought to be a love letter to the world.

― Anthony Doerr, Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World

2 thoughts on “Marginalia: Journal Prompts (April)

  1. Books are always my first thing to go too (well, after exercise but that basically never happens anyways), and it’s funny because I get really testy with people when I don’t read. And it isn’t just when I am stressed, either. Sometimes I’ll go on a tv binge instead of reading and I am just as testy with everyone. It’s good sometimes though because then people leave me alone to let me read sometimes.


    1. Ha, I completely understand about getting testy when you’ve had a “book fast” — whether out of choice or not. I’m similar. Maybe it’s reading withdrawal symptoms? I’m that way about writing now too. If I’m not working on a writing project on a regular basis, I get antsy. That’s not so much withdrawal symptoms as anxiety that time is passing on by and I’m not getting any younger. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Kailyn. Always good to chat with another reader/writer.

      Liked by 1 person

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