Monday, 28 November 2016

Does Writing In Books Ruin Them?

Do you write in your books?

This was a question I asked on Facebook last week, and I was actually surprised with the answers I got back.

" A prof once told me a book well crumpled is a book well loved because it shows just how often you've read it..."

"I do not feel that you are defacing the book, you are just making it more special to you..."

" I feel conflicted about this too, but lately have been highlighting passages that resonate with me in books I am learning from."

"I always read with a pencil near by. I write in the margins and put brackets around passages I want to remember. I don't see it as defacing a book, I think it's a compliment to the author."

I was totally expecting all of my friends to tell me that they absolutely would never write in their books, but instead almost every comment was in support of marking up the pages.

I feel so conflicted about this. Other than university textbooks, I almost never wrote in books. On rare occasions I would underline (in very light pencil) something that stood out to me.

But now that I've been reading so much more, I find so many beautiful lines that jump out at me. It almost feel like I'm being ungrateful to leave them unnoticed. I want that line or phrase or paragraph to know that it has connected with me. Maybe it made me laugh, maybe it gave me pause to think, or most likely, maybe it put words to a feeling I've had and could never quite explain.

When we buy almost anything we aim to keep it looking as new as possible for as long as possible. But does the same rule hold true for books?

Bookshelves of pristine hardcovers organized by size and colour are beautiful. But I think I'm going to give myself permission to love the insides of books a little more than I have in the past. I love the idea of making a book more uniquely mine in this way, and I'm looking forward to flipping through my books in the future and having these beautiful words stand out to me again and again.


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