Is it acceptable to notate thoughts in a book?
The concept of writing in books has been brought up in the comments of many of my discussion posts. So… I suppose it’s time to finally give it its due, yes? :p
I’m sure my regular readers already know my feelings about writing/ highlighting in books, as I’ve likely told each and every person who frequents my blog. Or even people who talk about books because I’m so adamant about this, but we’ve never really delved into why. Nor have I given voice to the other side of the argument. You know, the tainted, corrupt, blinded side that says it’s ‘okay’ to write in books? 😉
So, let me explain.
I am a perfectionist. Not a huge perfectionist. Not to the point of it being an issue (most of the time) or causing me undue stress, but I do have perfectionist tendencies. One of those tendencies happens to be cleanliness and order.
I like everything to have a ‘spot,’ and to be lined up appropriately so as to maximize empty space and give a sense of order to whatever it is I’m looking at. This could be my room, my nightstand, my drawer, my closet, my desk, my planner, my binder, my car even! Everything must be in its proper place lest chaos decide to wreak havoc upon my space.
One of the easiest ways to achieve this sense of control and order is blankness. If there is nothing there, there is nothing to organize, nothing to fall out of alignment. Now, this doesn’t work in every case, but a blank page is easy to keep blank. I got into a lot of trouble in high school for not showing work on my math tests (because I didn’t like to scuff up my page [and because I could do the math in my head.]).
It’s also why I can’t stand to write in books.
Heck! I can barely stand to write in the margins on notepaper because it throws off the entire order of the paper! (I was the worst note-taker in the history of note-takers!) And this is particularly horrible because, as a writer, ideas are constantly coming to me in random order and forcing me to scribble illegible comments all over the place. 0.0
Yet, I can control my books. I don’t need to write things in the margins. Yes, thoughts pop up while I’m reading, and I know I’ll forget them by the time I get around to writing my review of the book, but… I just can’t bring myself to mar the absolutely gorgeous pages of the book! (I mean, I can’t even stand a nick in the cover, for Pete’s sake! By the way, anyone know who Pete actually is?? 0.o)
Though, I can understand why people would want to write in their books.
This passage is particularly amazing! I want to remember a piece for when I write a review or discuss it with someone. This is what I think will happen at the end of the book and I want to write it down to see if I’m gonna be right.
Those are all amazing reasons and I, too, get these thoughts! But even when I do get these thoughts, I do not write them in the book! Maybe I’ll write some idea down for my review regarding the pacing or something, but never IN the book. And I would NEVER highlight the fiction novel (textbooks are different.)
Additionally, if I did write in a book and then wanted to go back and read it again (it could happen! …maybe. ) I would have a hard time reading the book like it was the first time because I’d see my notes all over the place. I feel like it would be too distracting and I still would miss all the little details you supposedly notice during the second and third reads.
And check out my discussion from last week: