Writing in books has stirred up just as much controversy as whether or not to dogear pages. Some of us prefer our books to remain pristine, others prefer proof that their books have been thoroughly read and understood. Are you wondering which camp I reside in? Read on!
In my younger years, I dove into books with different colored pens and a notebook by my side. I came by the tendency honestly: I have books previously owned by both my grandmother and my mother that contain their handwritten notes, and I will admit that those underlined passages and pithy comments in the margins give both insight into the books and into the minds of those two women.
I went out to grab one of my own books to show you what I was like as a writer of marginalia. The first book to hand was one of my college textbooks, and although the markings, underscorings, and marginalia may be a bit more prolific than those in my recreational reading, they are very similar.
I turned the pages of the book until I landed on a favorite poet and one of my favorite poems, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Arrows, underscores, asterisks, circles, comments, post-its, and pages of additional handwritten notes. Ah, Coleridge!
As the years passed, I added two more tools to my arsenal: post-its and highlighters, and when manufacturers came out with highlighters that were erasable, I was extremely happy. But I did say "in my younger years" as though times have changed. What am I like now?
Those of you who have won one of my giveaways already know. It can be difficult to tell that I've read a book now. I try my best not to leave a mark on them. Why the drastic change? Back "in my younger years," I did not share my books. I'm sharing them now. Being the daughter of a librarian and a former librarian myself, I was raised to treat books that do not belong to me with care. If I own a book, I can do what I like with it. If it's going to be passed on to others, easy does it. (Which is another reason why I do not dogear anymore. It's bookmarks all the way.)
If I'm not going to keep a book, I mark passages I want to refer to in my reviews with post-its. If they are passages that I want to remember forever and ever, I write them in my book journals. Now my erasable highlighters are used solely for my desk calendar.
Am I going to disparage anyone who dogears their books or who writes, draws, or scribbles in them? No... as long as those books belong to them. If I find out that they're doing that to library books or books that they've borrowed from friends, it's an entirely different story!
How do you feel about writing in books, in dogearing pages? Are you a strict disciplinarian or more laissez-faire in your attitude? Inquiring minds would love to know!
And now I'll end with more of my marginalia (just because I want to show you a page of Shelley).