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strictlytopsecret
04-18-2011, 12:48 AM
Do you write in books you own? Do you highlight? Take notes? Underline passages that pique your interest?

I have long been an advocate of fully interacting with the books I love. Many are filled with highlights, underlined passages, notes jotted in a margin. The more marked up it is, the more I valued it -- the more it meant to me.

If you locate a book on my personal bookshelf with little or no extraneous marks made by Yours Truly, you can bet the book either bored me to tears or that I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

It recently came to my attention that some folks see this (i.e., writing in books you own) as anathema. As sort of a moral affront, I suppose. That thought had never occurred to me.

And for that reason, I am intensely curious. Do others see writing in books you own as "wrong" in some way?

Genuinely curious,
~STS~

Linda Adams
04-18-2011, 12:55 AM
Yes -- though non-fiction books, and certainly only books I own (a recent library book was marked up with highlighting, and another one had 'corrections' in it). I have a time management book that describes this as making the book more valuable, and it is encouraged for right-brained people to help them remember information.

fourlittlebees
04-18-2011, 12:57 AM
AIYEE!!!! :chair

I can't stand it. Seriously. Even in college, when we were FORCED to write in our Riverside Shakespeares, I had ONE kind of pen and a small ruler to underline so it would be neat.

Now, that said? In my ebooks? I highlight and make notes all the time. What does that say about me?

RobJ
04-18-2011, 01:00 AM
I don't think it's wrong, it's just not something that I'd do.

Cyia
04-18-2011, 01:08 AM
I've been a book scribbler since we started "required" reading in intermediate school. I usually avoided the highlighters because they'd bleed through and smudge the ink, but pens worked fine.

I don't remember if there was a rash of book stealing that started it, or maybe just boredom, but usually everyone wrote their name around the edges of the book so that when you flipped pages it made the letters appear and disappear. :/

Aaron Wilder
04-18-2011, 01:17 AM
I don't do it. Can't stand to crack the spine or fold pages either. When I'm reading, markings in the book jar me out of what's going on. Even books with illustrations do this to me sometimes.

writingismypassion
04-18-2011, 01:17 AM
If they are your books, and marking in them is helpful for you, then I don't see how it can be considered wrong. Scratching my head on that one.

zanzjan
04-18-2011, 01:19 AM
I don't write in my own books, but I will often leave folded notes tucked inside the cover -- words I'd run across that I'd never seen before, quotes I thought particularly interesting or apt, etc. It's kind of a nice surprise when I pull a book off the shelf for the first time in a long time and find all these pointers to wonderful things I'd forgotten.

-Suzanne

Ari Meermans
04-18-2011, 01:25 AM
I used to highlight passages in my books when they made highlighters with an 'eraser' at the other end. Now, I use color coded post-it page markers.

I don't see anything wrong with marking your own books. I think my hesitancy to do so goes back to childhood and my parents' love of books; Mom, especially, considered writing in a book as something akin to desecration.

scarletpeaches
04-18-2011, 01:26 AM
Never, never, never. I don't even dogear pages and don't break the spine if I can help it.

I don't even lend books out because I rarely get them back and when I do, they're never in the same condition in which I lent them out.

strictlytopsecret
04-18-2011, 01:33 AM
Mom, especially, considered writing in a book as something akin to desecration.

Thanks, everyone for your responses so far.

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of writing in books as a moral issue. I used to highlight verses in my Bible during church, for example. I suppose that might be over-the-top for folks that see writing in books in general as something . . . unpalatable.

The above intrigues me. Why, do you suppose, the idea of writing in a book effects some folks in that way (i.e., a reaction of horror, of affront, of disdain)?

~STS~

.303 Bookworm
04-18-2011, 01:36 AM
I don't see it as wrong, but I just can't bring myself to do it, even when it would be really useful. The one exception, and this was only during my teen years, was any book that had Got Something Wrong, in which case I'd correct it even if it was a library book. And even then, I did it in pencil.

(It is, however, morally wrong to make a decorating trend out of ripping the covers off books old books and putting them on your shelves with their spines exposed, or tying them in little bundles. WTF.)

scarletpeaches
04-18-2011, 01:49 AM
With me, it's simply because as a kid and a teen, books saved my sanity. It would feel like a form of desecration. I want to show my respect for the authors' work by keeping the books as pristine as possible.

Duchessmary
04-18-2011, 01:52 AM
Yep, I am guilty, especially books that I'm using to research a story line. The Bible I have made some highlights. A few I won't touch.

Linda Adams
04-18-2011, 01:53 AM
With me, it's simply because as a kid and a teen, books saved my sanity. It would feel like a form of desecration. I want to show my respect for the authors' work by keeping the books as pristine as possible.

Oh, dear. You should see some of the books I've read over and over again. It's obvious they're well used.

scarletpeaches
04-18-2011, 02:00 AM
Books get beaten up through constant use, I'll grant you, but I won't add to it by deliberately writing in them, dogearing pages (bookmarks, people!) or even writing my name in them!

Any books I have that look in a right old state, you can be assured I bought them second- or third-hand and they were like that when I got them.

WriteMinded
04-18-2011, 02:00 AM
I write and mark manuals that I own. I use stickies in other books.

whacko
04-18-2011, 02:02 AM
I don't write in the margins anymore. No, the inside front cover is where I make the notes now. Much easier to find then. And far more legible.

Regards

Whacko

frimble3
04-18-2011, 02:07 AM
NOT IN LIBRARY BOOKS! No, not ever, not if you're a genius, or the author having a new thought!
In a book you've bought, sure, go for it. I'm a corner-folder, rather than an underliner, because it's easier to find the dog-ear than to flip through looking for markings. And I sometimes add a post-it or a scrap of paper.

kayleamay
04-18-2011, 03:04 AM
I will scribble endlessly in non-fic books, especially the ones on my Beloved Shelf. I highlight, write in margins, dog-ear the pages and sometimes I even sniff them for the smell of the paper. But for fic, I read them (usually only once) and keep them in new condition.

Except for the supermarket PBs. Those end up soaked in tanning lotion and covered in sand and lemonade drool. Eventually, the covers fall off.

Ari Meermans
04-18-2011, 04:10 AM
Thanks, everyone for your responses so far.

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of writing in books as a moral issue. I used to highlight verses in my Bible during church, for example. I suppose that might be over-the-top for folks that see writing in books in general as something . . . unpalatable.

The above intrigues me. Why, do you suppose, the idea of writing in a book effects some folks in that way (i.e., a reaction of horror, of affront, of disdain)?

~STS~

I can't speak for anyone else, but I think in her case it had a lot to do with her coming of age during the Great Depression and having few tangible "treasures" other than books.

Grrarrgh
04-18-2011, 05:34 AM
I highlighted and wrote in the margins of text books in college, but that was it. Even then, it felt really weird and I had to force myself to do it every time, but it was just the easiest way to take notes. But I've never done it with any other books. My parents both did in every book they read, but it was just never a habit that I picked up. The only time it's ever really bothered me is when I've gotten library books that were written and highlighted all over the place. A word written here and there is one thing, but I've gotten some that were just covered. I can't even read them; I have to take them right back.

Caitlin Black
04-18-2011, 03:32 PM
Never.

When I first started reading, I used to dogear the page I was up to when I had to go to bed. It never occurred to me to do it any other way. Then I borrowed Lord Of The Rings from a friend, and he told me point blank, "Use a bookmark. Don't fold the corners down."

Since then, I've not once folded a corner down in a book. I have 3 proper bookmarks, and about 10 receipts from buying books that I use for bookmarks. I need this many, because I always have about 10 books on the go at any given time...

But I've never written in books that I owned. I used to have some "Where's Wally?" books (Waldo for you Americans) and my sister circled where he was in every picture. I never looked through those books again, because the main things you were supposed to find had been circled. Totally ruined it.

So for me, writing in a book triggers a subconscious affrontage, because of what my sister did. *shrug*

Now that I'm doing an Arts degree, I've made notes on handouts, but never in an actual book. I mean, I've had essays and scripts printed out, and I make bare essential kind of notes on those, but if I owned a book with the script or essay in it? I wouldn't write a single stroke.

I'm very much a collector. It's a little different to being a hoarder - I don't just keep everything, I only keep what fits my collection. Unfortunately for my analness, I can't afford complete collections, and sometimes I've added second-hand items to my collections that are just not in a good enough condition to be around once I can afford to replace them.

I'm very particular about a lot of things, actually... *shrug* I'm fine with being a perfectionist.

/ramble

DiloKeith
04-18-2011, 04:23 PM
I usually limit my marks to vertical pencil lines in the margin (similar to what a word processor does to show changes). I use sticky notes or other non-marking materials for placeholders or extra notes, never folding page corners. My desire for saving information would make ebooks a likely choice, but I prefer holding the paper. In my fantasy life, I'd have both versions of every book.

I don't actually object to more marking, but in the past I did it to the point where I made a mess of the pages and regretted it.

scarletpeaches
04-18-2011, 04:40 PM
I really don't see the point of writing in books to make notes. Isn't that what notepads are for? Or...you know...remembering stuff?

DiloKeith
04-18-2011, 04:43 PM
I really don't see the point of writing in books to make notes. Isn't that what notepads are for? Or...you know...remembering stuff?

If the note would involve extensive copying of the book material, it could be more efficient to keep it with the source.

scarletpeaches
04-18-2011, 05:31 PM
Post-its. Marks the page without marking the book.

NeuroFizz
04-18-2011, 05:57 PM
I mark all of my territory by peeing on it.

Oh, wait...you're not talking about that kind of marking...

Never mind.

milly
04-18-2011, 06:03 PM
if I own the book, I'll dog ear pages of passages that really got to me and then I usually go back later, even years later and pull the book and revisit those sections over and over again

I have written in my novels before but since college, the writing has faded

But I still totally bend pages back

:)

scarletpeaches
04-18-2011, 06:07 PM
This thread makes baby Jesus cry.

milly
04-18-2011, 06:13 PM
*walks back into thread, head hung*

okay, I confess...I put asterisks in the margins and brackets too of passages that I like and want to return to

:)

Then, I bend the top corner of the page so that when I go back to that book I can find what I'm looking for.

Whew...now I feel better after getting that off my chest!

:)

strictlytopsecret
04-18-2011, 06:22 PM
How might you feel if you became aware that readers purchased books you had written and had marked in them?

Flattered?
Proud?
Disrespected?
Angry?
Sad?
Neutral?
Some combination of the above?

Thanks to all who have responded so far.
~STS~

milly
04-18-2011, 06:24 PM
FLATTERED without a doubt...I mark what I mark in novels because it's something that moved me emotionally or because it is something that really made me think

If I've written something that gets the same reaction from a reader, I'd be touched, no question

cray
04-18-2011, 06:27 PM
FLATTERED without a doubt...I mark what I mark in novels because it's something that moved me emotionally or because it is something that really made me think

If I've written something that gets the same reaction from a reader, I'd be touched, no question

*make notes...

"milly is touched."
"no period at end of sentences."*

KyraDune
04-18-2011, 06:35 PM
I don't write in books. I don't see a reason to do so. However, what someone does with a book once they have purchased it is none of my business. I wouldn't have any feelings whatsoever if I discovered someone had written in a copy of my book.

milly
04-18-2011, 06:36 PM
*make notes...

"milly is touched."
"no period at end of sentences."*

I don't need no stinkin' periods

I use way too many of them when I'm writing...it's one less keystroke for me when I'm here

sheesh, give a girl a break

:tongue

scarletpeaches
04-18-2011, 07:15 PM
How might you feel if you became aware that readers purchased books you had written and had marked in them?

Flattered?
Proud?
Disrespected?
Angry?
Sad?
Neutral?
Some combination of the above?

Thanks to all who have responded so far.
~STS~I'd hate it. 'Disrespected' would be the mildest way to describe it.

JimmyB27
04-18-2011, 07:22 PM
I can't really imagine what you'd want to write in a book.

PyroJones
04-18-2011, 07:24 PM
I really don't see the point of writing in books to make notes. Isn't that what notepads are for? Or...you know...remembering stuff?

Making a note in the book is the best way for me to keep said note immediate accessible to the pertinent text. Not everyone can remember things very well; I have a crappy memory and I come by it honestly via physiological problems.

When I am so in love with a book that I must mark it all up, I just buy a second copy. Or third, sometimes. Or... more. I have a copy of Les Miserables devoted solely to my notes on Enjolras.

scarletpeaches
04-18-2011, 07:27 PM
:cry: This thread makes me a sad panda.

KellyAssauer
04-18-2011, 07:28 PM
How might you feel if you became aware that readers purchased books you had written and had marked in them?
~STS~

Whatever someone else does with their books* is their business, and as long as they keep their hands off what's mine, I'm okay with it.


*applies to more than books.

mirandashell
04-18-2011, 10:58 PM
Oh my lor.......

I don't know what to say. WHY do people write in books? I really don't get it.

And if I lent a book to someone and they wrote in it, or broke the spine or dog-eared the pages, I would seriously consider breaking their fingers.

I wouldn't do it but I would really think about it.

Seriously, if you can't respect my book, DON'T TOUCH IT.

You are all going to Hell.

I'm going to lie down in a dark room......

strictlytopsecret
04-18-2011, 11:12 PM
FLATTERED. . .If I've written something that gets the same reaction from a reader, I'd be touched, no question

My sentiments exactly.

But clearly this way of looking at the matter is not shared by all.

Could it have to do with a sense of ownership or a sense of the actual physical book as a work of (visual) art?

Interestingly, I would not even remotely consider making a mark on a painting produced by someone else. That, I would see as defacement.

I wonder what makes the two art forms (i.e., paintings and novels) so different that marking on the first is almost universally shunned while marking on the second is much more of an individual choice.

For me, my interaction with a painting is almost wholly in the visual realm, so adding a visual mark to it seems "wrong".

My interaction with a book, on the other hand, is more in the intellectual realm than it is for a painting. Marking in a book is a means (for me) of interacting with it. A show of respect and appreciation.

Interested in hearing your thoughts,
~STS~

strictlytopsecret
04-18-2011, 11:16 PM
. . .if I lent a book to someone and they wrote in it, or broke the spine or dog-eared the pages, I would seriously consider breaking their fingers. . .
You are all going to Hell.

Not to worry.

We're not discussing borrowed items in this thread, so there is no need to physically injure anyone nor banish them to Hades.

We're discussing books that are owned by the person who marks in them.

~STS~

mirandashell
04-18-2011, 11:27 PM
Ok, but I just don't get it. I cannot even begin to understand why people write in books. Even their own books.

It's like buying a painting and scribbling on it.

Edit: Sorry, hadn't seen STS's post about paintings.

To me it's the same thing. A book is a thing in and of itself. Same as a painting. Who am I to deface it?

scarletpeaches
04-18-2011, 11:30 PM
Not to worry.

We're not discussing borrowed items in this thread, so there is no need to physically injure anyone nor banish them to Hades.

We're discussing books that are owned by the person who marks in them.

~STS~How about for fun?

Yeshanu
04-18-2011, 11:56 PM
Textbooks, yes. I used to highlight important parts--made studying a lot easier.

My Bible, occasionally. I used to put questions or thoughts in the margins for myself. Don't do it as much, because I'm finding that years later the questions/thoughts don't make any sense...

Fiction, not usually unless I'm needing to go back to something for a quote for a sermon or something I'm writing. Even then, post-its have replaced book marking as the method of choice for me.

Lord of the Rings, never. It's not so much the sacredness of the text (:tongue) as it is the fact that I've pretty much memorized where in the books all the quotes I might possibly need are hidden. And memorized most of the quotes...

The one thing I don't like about marking up my own books is that it reduces their resale value, should I wish to sell them at a second hand store.

And people who mark up library books (or any book they've borrowed from someone, for that matter) deserve their own special place in the netherworld.

About books vs paintings: A painting is a visual medium that's meant to be viewed, and if you draw on it, you're changing the actual creation. If you're going to compare paintings to books, then defacing a painting would be more like crossing out the author's words and inserting your own than writing in the margins or highlighting, because despite it's format, a book is an information product and the medium is verbal, not visual. So I don't view writing in a book as desecration of the book.

Misquoting someone or quoting them out of context is desecration of the book.