Annotating to Increase Sentimental Value: Discussion

Hello! I didn’t get a chance to say this in my last post as it was a review of Paper Towns by John Green and I don’t introduce my reviews, but I’m sorry for not posting much this past week, schoolwork really got the better of me but hopefully it will calm down a bit this week and I can post some more as well as catch up with my October Blog Ahead Challenge which I am very, very behind on.

I was looking up inspiration for blog posts because I’ve been struggling to come up with good ideas (possibly because it is 7 ‘o’ clock in the morning…) and I was reading through a list and nothing seemed to call to me, or nothing that I could actually do, anyway, so I went into the comments section of the post I was reading and people were talking about taking inspiration from the book you’re currently reading. So then I thought, well, what I am currently reading that would make for a good post. And I realised, I’m annotating Invasion of the Tearling as I read it, but not my other current reads, so why don’t I talk about writing in books.

It’s a controversial topic in the book community, some for it, some against it and I am personally completely for it. I don’t always annotate my books though. If I’m reading on the bus or in the train or if I am reading at school, I tend not to annotate, although I will bring a pencil. This is supported by the fact that I take my Kindle with me these places (let me know if you want to see a post about when I read what type of books 🙂 ). I don’t annotate Kindle books because I don’t keep a ‘My Clippings’ folder, I always delete it, so there’s no point. I will write things down, like quotes, in a notebook if I am particularly stricken by it. German books I only annotate with definitions (which I also do in English books) and non-fiction I occasionally write my thoughts in but not really. Short story collections I also don’t annotate because I read them right before bed when my brain just wants to be able to put the book down and turn off the light without worrying about highlighters and pens and pencils.

That brings us on to the next topic: what type of annotating do I do. Here is a comprehensive list:

  1. I write definitions in the margins for words that I don’t know. I will highlight the word in the text and in the defintion.
  2. I will mark major additions to the plot (or what I think are major additions to the plot) with a pink sticky note sticking out of the side of the book.
  3. I will write my thoughts in the margins in pencil. Also, any predictions.
  4. If I come across something that I recognise as symbolism or something that sparks an internal debate I will mark it with pen and write out my thoughts on a special piece of paper and then paperclip it to the page.
  5. If I come across a passage that I like or think works as a quote, I highlight it and stick a yellow sticky note out of the top of the book.
  6. I use an orange sticky note to mark concepts, ideas or sections of a book that I found really interesting and I underline them in pencil.

But why annotate? Why ruin the crisp look of the pages?

It’s quite simple, really. I read a book because of the experience, not because it looks pretty. And if I annotate my books I can go through and experience my thoughts again. It also makes rereading very interesting. I also get more out of a book when I am actively thinking about connections, symbolism and what might be important and marking it down. Writing things down helps me remember them. In addition to this, annotating your books makes them more valuable- not in a I-will-get-lots-of-money from this way but in a future-generations-will-thank-me-for-this and a increasing-sentimentality way. I mean, you can tell a lot about a person from the books that they read. You can tell even more about them from their thoughts on the books.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter if you annotate your books or not or if you aren’t particularly consistent, because we are all individual readers who should read for themselves (with the exception or required reading) and therefore, as long as we are happy with what we’re doing, it doesn’t really matter.

This was a bit of a wordy post without any photos, but I thought it was a very interesting topic that needed to be addressed. Let me know if you annotate book! Why or why not? Did I miss something out, let me know!

-Rogan x


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