Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Writer Wednesday: Do You Write in Books?

When I was in college getting my teaching degree in English, one of my favorite professors said a true reader can't read without a pen. I love books, and for a while I thought writing in them was somehow taking away from their value. I was wrong. Writing in books and flagging pages isn't being disrespectful. It's the complete opposite. You're showing your love for the story. 

Getting permission to write in the margins of the books I read was like heaven to me. I started underlining, dog-earing, and even writing comments in the margins. Even when I read on my Kindle, I use the notes and highlights features while I read. It lets me find favorite passages and record my thoughts.

Now to be completely honest, for my favorite books, I have more than one copy. One to write in and mark up and the other to display on my shelf. In fact, sometimes I've been known to buy three copies so I have the book in every format. 

How do you show your love of books? Do you write in them, make notes on Kindle, buy more than one copy, etc?

48 comments:

  1. I had a prof who required this in college, and it was so hard for me! I had the hardest time forcing myself to write in a book because my whole life I'd been taught not to. Ironically, I had the hardest time writing in the Bible because that seemed like the ultimate disrespect and now that's the book I write in most.

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    1. It is tough to do at first. I know exactly what you mean.

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  2. I'd have a hard time writing in a book(now accidentally dropping salsa or chocolate in one of my books? Happens all the time!). But I have sticky tabs that I'll use to mark certain places in books where I've really enjoyed something. B/c there's nothing worse than thumbing through a big fat book and not being able to find that one funny joke!

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    1. I love using Post-its in books. Mine are littered with them. :)

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  3. My fave lit teacher said the same thing--and I tell my own lit & creative writing students to mark up their books. That said, I don't write in collector's items.

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    1. Yeah, I have some books that are simply meant to look nice and be revered. :)

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  4. I usually feel too busy to write, though sometimes I'll bookmark a page to read again later. By the way, cool website design. I'll read some of your stuff.

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  5. I still can't write in a book without a twinge of guilt. But now that I'm a writer, I LOVE highlighting good (and sometimes even bad) passages and then writing in the margin why I like or dislike it. I learn more from passages I dislike than ones I like!

    We have a used book store here in town, and that's when it annoys me to find books that are written in. I can't stand reading someone else's notes. It ruins my experience of the book.

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    1. Oh yeah, that would bother me too. I don't want someone else's writing in the margins. Well, maybe a famous author's.

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  6. When I was younger, I used to think folding over the corner to mark the page you're on was disrespectful. lol To this day, I am an avid user of bookmarks! :P But I do like this idea though, especially if I had two copies, like you do. :)

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    1. Try Post-it notes. They don't damage the book. :)

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  7. I tend to write in textbooks, but very little in novels. Mostly I get too caught up in the story to flag or highlight, and I find the kindle underlining feature a tad bit clunky. I totally see why people do (some of my favorite textbooks look like they've been savagely attacked by a highlighter), but I've just never gotten into it :)

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    1. I highlight on my Kindle. I love how easy it is to go back and find your notes that way.

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  8. I gotta admit, I'm addicted to the Kindle highlight feature :-)

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  9. I can't do it! And I don't know if it has anything to do with disrespect or decreasing the value of the book, but I just can't bring myself to write inside a novel. I won't even dog-ear a page--bookmarks only. (I do make notes and highlight in textbooks all the time, though). I totally understand what you're saying about it showing your love for the book, and I completely agree, too, but something psychological in my brain won't allow it. However, I will use post-it notes. :)

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  10. I should have had your favorite professor, Kelly. What this teacher said feels intuitively right to me, and I'll be reading this way from now on. never too late....

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    1. No, never too late. :) Write in those books, Mirka.

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  11. Yep, I have to remind myself when reading a library book that I'm not allowed to write in it. :)

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    1. I think that's a FAIR exception, Sarah.

      Anyway, I have to say I don't feel right writing notes in books I own.

      That said, I have bought more than one copy of a book, most recently a signed copy of a book in the "Lyle the Crocodile" series by Bernard Waber.

      This was shortly after hearing he died and it was the only way I'd get a signed copy, and I got for MSRP,m which is s legal steal for a signed copy of a well known and loved book.

      No doubt signed editions will be worth considerably as time goes on.

      But I will NEVER sell my copy short of financial urgency, or give to a reader who will cherish it as I do now.

      I'd love to have two signed copies of some books I own and save the second copies of those books for blog giveaways.

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    2. LOL, Sarah. Yeah, don't write in those.

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    3. Taurean, I know what you mean about signed copies. I use Post-it notes for those because having the signature makes the book more special.

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  12. I think I'd feel guilty, writing in a book.

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    1. Why? You bought the book. It's yours. And I've come to realize it's a form of respect writing in a book. I hope people write in mine.

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  13. I haven't yet decided. I always try to keep it in pristine condition. I wonder if I could change my way of thinking and start writing in it? I do use post-its in craft books.

    Nas

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    1. If Post-its are what you are comfortable with, there's nothing wrong with that. :)

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  14. I seldom write in a book, but if I'm reading it for research for my story I highlight information so I can find it easy and take notes in the margins.

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  15. I write in books constantly. The words I write in the margins are like tiny literary time capsules. I especially like re-reading books I read in college. It's funny to see what I underlined then and realize I would now underline something different.

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    1. I know what you mean. It's fun to go back and visit books you wrote in. Time does change perspective.

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  16. I always find myself writing notes here and there and even underlining my books. Especially if I know that I will post a review for the author. This way, it's easier to point out my favorite parts for the review.

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  17. Oh dear. I'm not sure I could do this, even if someone gave me permission. I do put TONS of little post-its into books,though. I guess that's my Type A way of writing in them. :-)

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    1. If I have a lot I want to write and it won't fit in the margins, I use Post-it notes too. Nothing wrong with that.

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  18. If I'm reading an instructional book, I'm writing on just about every page. I never write in fictional books, not unless I'm required to write an essay about it. :)

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    1. Writing in instructional books is a must! I think it's fun to write in fiction though. It's all your thoughts and reactions.

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  19. Yes! When I found out in college that one not only can but should write in books, it was like a whole new world opened. All of my favorite books are ones I "talk to" in the margins. My dad had taught me never to write in books -- but since he had gotten two degrees himself, I'm not sure how or why he didn't write in books.

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    1. Somehow writing in the margins lets you connect to the book on a different level. It brings you more into the experience of reading. At least I think it does. :)

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  20. I've never written in a book but it could be worth of trying. At least it would help me remember my favorite lines!

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    1. Yes. Marking favorite lines is my favorite part.

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  21. I could never write in a book. That would be like the ultimate disrespect to a book. I also don't turn down page corners or stick sticky notes in books.

    If I want to remember a quote, I write it in a notebook or make it my GR (progress) status.

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    1. See, as an author, I would love to find out people write in my books. I don't think it's disrespectful. I think it shows they care enough to comment or underline. Think about a child's favorite stuffed animal. It's not in perfect condition and just sitting on a shelf. It's worn and...well, loved. Some of my favorite books are worn because I've read them so much. Now, I do buy a second or third copy if I really love the book, but I like one I can keep reading and writing in, too. I think it shows how much I love the story.

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  22. At first, I just couldn't bring myself to do that. Books were priceless objects never to be damaged. And then... is started reading as a writer. Big difference. I want to remember things, go back and rerad, relive the thrill of the author's words. Having an e-reader makes this process even easier. So yes, now I mark up my books. I confess I still cringe a little when I do, but it's part of my toolbox as a writer. If I see a word or a phrase I want to borrow, well....

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    1. Yes, it's very easy to mark things in an ereader and I love that feature. But I use a ton of Post-its and underlining in my paperbacks and hardcover books. I think writing in books is really an honor for the author. We love their words enough to want to be able to find them easily and reread them. There's no disrespect in that.

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  23. I underline the phrases and sentences that really dig deep into me. I tend to scribble in non-fiction (and all of my literature text in school previously), but not much in fiction these days. However, I write my thoughts on the stories/characters I read in my freewriting book later on.

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    1. I know a lot of writers who keep a notebook for that purpose, so you're not alone.

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