If you have time to read this, you probably have already done all your Christmas shopping but maybe there are a few of you who are racking your brains for a small gift for the reader on your list.

Worry no more. I have a wonderful suggestion—reader journals. The Book Table on Lake Street has one that is spiral bound.  It’s called Books to Check Out. There are three parts to it: Books to Read, Favorite Books/Passages, and Books Borrowed/Lent. I liked the compactness and the fact that it provided a central place to keep all the recommendations for books and pages or passages of books I want to remember but usually don’t.

I found a bound journal at Bramble on Oak Park Avenue titled The Reading Woman. It is set up as a traditional journal with lovely quotes (“Books are meat and medicine and flame and flight and flower…” Gwendolyn Brooks) and color reproductions of paintings of women reading. It would be a perfect place to write your reactions to a book you’ve just read.

I have often wondered how many books I actually read in a year. I’ve tried keeping lists but lose them after a few months. Maybe something like this would help me keep track. And it sidesteps the problem of buying a book the other person doesn’t like. They would make nice birthday gifts too.

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Helen Kossler loves reading aloud to her grandchildren and is not ashamed to admit that she almost always likes the book better than the movie. She has been buying, borrowing, begging and stealing (well—not...