Write in a book? That’ll ruin it! That’s like a kid painting on wall or drawing on a table with crayons. Right? Not quite. We’re not talking about vandalism here, we’re talking about taking ownership of your books. There’s no better way to begin to understand the structure, content and creativity of a book than by writing in it using annotations and notes.
1. Books are meant to teach you. Not writing in a book is like going to class without a notebook. Unless you have a perfect memory, you are missing an opportunity to learn.
2. Writing in books ensures that your ideas stay with the book, as opposed to notes on paper that will get separated.
3. Underlining words, phrases or concepts allows you to focus on what interests you and what you want to explore further. When reviewing your book you will quickly find these notes that you made.
4. Any good book (fiction or non) will challenge your thinking and force you to ask questions. Writing in the margins of a book is one way of answering those questions or asking new ones while staying on the page, maybe just with a word or exclamation!
5. Unless books are rare or recent textbooks, their resale value drops sharply after purchase (just like new cars driven off the lot). Make the most of your books because they’ll probably end up being recycled one day anyway, so don’t worry about keeping them pristine. You can always erase a pencil mark.
6. Writing in a book feels risque, like it’s something that you shouldn’t be doing. If you ever need a thrill, write in a book (preferably your own).
7. It makes you feel connected to what you are reading. The words leave the page and enter your mind while your mind produces thoughts and interacts with the words. Use your pencil to visualize these thoughts on the page.
Books are meant to be understood and to broaden understanding, take this to the next level by experimenting with writing inside them. You can underline, use brackets, make notes in the margins, make stars, whatever works for you. Pencil marks can be erased so don’t worry! An extra tip is to use sticky notes. If I use these they are to draw attention to page on which I also make written notes and annotations.
How do you mark up your books? Or do you think it’s crazy to do so?