Wednesday 23 February 2011


This is the second in the series about how I’ve set up my filofaxes and covers my Book-o-fax.

My red A5 domino used to be my work filofax, but after a trip to the Filofax France store, there was a re-shuffle and it became my book-o-fax.

I read. Not as much as I would like to, but I get through somewhere between 30 and 50 books a year. I also like to keep reviews of them and lists of what I have read. I had a ‘spare’ filofax. Ergo, I now had a book-o-fax!

I love to be able to produce my own pages and also to produce personalised dividers. The A5 is an excellent size to achieve this! The personalised pages I use in the book-o-fax are: reading lists (adapted slightly from the template on Philofaxy) and a book review form that I created (and which Steve at Philofaxy has kindly added to the list of templates over there – check out the files page). I will probably add the templates I have made (both for the book-o-fax and others) to this site in time.

So, here it is:
The book-o-fax

The personalised dividers use clip-art pictures off the internet. The font is Type Upright. I created the dividers in power point so I could line things up and rotate the wording for the tabs etc. Work has a guillotine that I can use for free! The card was straightforward card-stock, approximately 240gsm and I printed them on my home printer.
The first section lists what I have read in a year

The Reading List is simply a list for each year of what I have read, when I read it and how many stars (out of 5) I awarded it.

The Book Reviews list the author and title; the date I started the book and when I finished it; a brief synopsis and then my review. I also note where the book is (on the shelves, gone to a charity shop etc) and how many stars I awarded it. On the reverse of the review sheet is a page for notes where I write down if I lend the book out or if I need to add any other comments etc.
The reviews are filed behind this busy chap!
All of the reviews are filed, by author surname, in a set of A-Z dividers. I print all the pages on cream paper (Clairefontaine Trophee Colours 80gsm) because I prefer cream paper to white. I like the paper – it goes through the printer well and also copes brilliantly with fountain pen.

So, that’s my book-o-fax. As ever, feel free to comment/share your thoughts.


  1. Love the graphics! Great idea to use Powerpoint for the layout -- will have to try that. Thanks for posting these detailed descriptions and pics!

  2. My pleasure! There's another blog coming soon about how I've set up my home filofax.

    Powerpoint was certainly a great help, especially with the grid view switched on to help lining things up.

  3. This is such a good idea. I especially like the idea of noting where're the books are once you've read them, I'm forever trying to find old books to lend to people or reread and them remembering that I gave them away/lent them etc.

    So good to find another blog about Filofaxes and Frixions :0) these are my obsessions also and the Jade Finchley is just gorgeous!! I also have a red A5 Finchley that I used to use for work - it's now my home Fax with a Bronze Snakeskin for work at present. I'm lusting after the Purple Finchley to replace that though.


  4. @LouLou
    Have you seen that Frixion also now do highlighter pens - spotted them in my local supermarket on offer on Friday. And I love the Finchleys! I can't believe that Filofax are doing away with most of them!

    Glad that you like the blog. I did wonder when I started it whether I would be a lone voice singing in the wild! Always good to know other like-minded people are out there!

  5. Hi.

    This post inspired me to (finally) keep a dedicated Filofax commonplace book with the book notes filed by author and title. I'd been keeping my notes all over the place, and when I did have a dedicated commonplace book, I kept the notes in chronological order--not very helpful, as you can imagine. I'm using an A-Z index to help keep everything more searchable, and I've also dedicated tabs for movies, concerts, and theater. (I'm in NYC, there are lots of affordable live entertainment options, cheaper than catching a movie.)

    My notes aren't as structured as yours; I wonder if you write notes on everything you read and if you find the template helps you stay on top of it.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Hi M Ng,
    Glad the post inspired you! Please share what filofax you decide to use and how you set it up? I'm always curious (nosey!) about other people's set-ups. Your book/arts-o-fax sounds very interesting. I imagine chronological filing, whilst being an intersting nostalgia time reading through it, might not be the fastest way to find a book/reference quickly! :-)

    In the book-o-fax I write notes on all the fiction I read (I read a lot of non-fiction with my work and handle that very differently, largely using online reference managers to be honest) and yes, the templates do keep me stay on top of it all.

    Glad you've enjoyed the post!

  7. I have a book-o-fax too! Philofaxy put a post up about it:

    I adore my books, and I think Filofaxes were made to track reading and wish lists!

  8. Amazing book o fax. I want to customise my inserts too but I am oh so coward when it comes to printing stuff correctly.
    Nellie I adore your book o fax and the deco! :-)

  9. That is such a great idea. I have been tracking my books, listed alphabetically by author in a small Moleskine address book. I liked it that it had the cut off tabs in a lined notebook. But there is not as much space to write a short review for every book. And the list is so old, it holds all the titles of my books since the 80s I think. I do not have a separate filofax binder but I do have the templates from the philofaxy webpage. That could be a good start before I need a new binder. Thanks for this inspiration. The artwork for the dividers is lovely.

  10. Hi,

    I've been using a personal slate Urban for my dedicated commonplace book, with standard-issue 6-tab dividers, A-Z index, and lined paper. I keep a huge stack of lined paper just behind the flyleaf where I write before I file the notes away, then there are my tabs:
    - list: this is the master list of what I've been reading, watching, and attending.
    - tbrs: the several to-be-read lists (shortlist, several research-related lists, a general catch-all, plus a list of books I want to own)
    - movies: notes on movies
    - theater: notes on plays, staged readings, &c.
    - concerts: notes on shows I attend
    The last tab is currently blank; I think I may use it for exhibits/museum visits since it's a 2011 resolution to make it a regular thing. Following the 6-tab dividers are the A-Z dividers, where I'm filing book notes by author's last name.

    Lately I've been more structured when I sit down to write notes (and then I read your book-o-fax post, which helped me create this better notebook, perfect synchronicity!). Right out of school I was so rigorous, but over the years I've become pretty slack about it, often doing no more than musing in a vague way, though at other times taking pages and pages of notes and quotes. Right now I'm working on a sort of informal book notes protocol (versus a template),to help guide me through the process.

    I haven't decorated my tabs as you have, beyond using patterned washi tape for labeling the tabs, so my binder isn't much to look at.

  11. I've been thinking of getting just that filo for my own library/book notebook! *taking notes on your ideas* :)

  12. I just discovered your blog, and I love it. I also love these dividers and have been looking for similar clipart for my book. Where in the world did you find them? I can't find anything as good on the internet.