To Write In Your Books Or Not To Write In Your Books?

to write or not write in your booksThese past couple of weeks I’ve really been trying and watching more booktube videos and more importantly (to me, at least) watch smaller booktubers. And by broadening my horizon on booktube I came across a bunch of videos about defacing books and I was fascinated by it! The idea of taking your favorite book and making it your own to that extend really got me thinking!

In the past, while reading a book I would never mark favorite scenes or dialogue in any kind of way. My oldest books on my shelves are so empty and don’t show any signs of what I’ve loved about them. And looking at them now, I’m really sad about it. I want to know which scenes got me excited! I want to know where the author did great with their writing! I want to see scenes with my ships that I really enjoyed!

I slowly moved towards using tabs in my books to mark scenes, which surprisingly took me quite a while to get to! I had this idea that my books had to be in a like-new condition at all times. Which is ridiculous to me now! And from using tabs I slowly moved to writing on my tabs which was quite the step for me too! I mean, I obviously wasn’t writing on the pages of my book but still.

While I was recently re-reading my copy of A Court Of Mist And Fury I was also looking through my updates from my first read through and I found this update:

Unbenannt

And I kind of had to laugh at my past self! If you look through any of the books I have read this year, you will find that I have been using highlighters and other pens like no one’s business! I love flipping through my books and being able to see all those colors!

But I am still not 100% comfortable writing in my books – or maybe it’s not all of my books. I remember feeling a bit uncomfortable when I first wrote into my brand new copy of A Darker Shade Of Magic. I had highlighted things at that point already, but writing something down felt different. And I didn’t end up writing much down in it.

My copy of ACOMAF is a different story entirely. I have a ton of highlighted scenes, I have even more tabs and I have written a good deal of notes on the margins and I honestly love that book in its current state so much! I had actually underlined a handful of sentences during my first read through and it was fun coming across those scenes and realizing that I still loved them as much as the first time around!

I do feel like I still have quite a long way to go in terms of annotating books and finding a system that works for me and figuring out a way that would allow me to come back to a book months or years down the line and add more annotation or highlight scenes differently. I find it fascinating when people can clearly say ‘These highlighted scenes are from my first read through. And these scenes are from my second/third/etc read through!’. It gives you this interesting insight into what you loved about a story at a different point in your life!

How do you guys feel about writing in your books? Or annotating in general? Do you use any methods to highlight scenes that stood out to you? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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26 thoughts on “To Write In Your Books Or Not To Write In Your Books?

  1. I rarely write in my books, with the exception of when I’m trying to gather evidence for one of my crazy theories when I’m rereading a book, haha. My friend LOVES to write notes in her books, which is why she never borrows from the library. I’ve never been the type of person to do it a lot I guess; I tried it once for a book I had to read for school, but I just ended up getting lazy with it! 🙊😂

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    1. These days, I probably couldn’t borrow books from the library either because I love to mark scenes one way or another! Or I love to comment about things that are happening and I just enjoy it too much!

      I was never a fan of having to read and write in books in school! Whenever something that I MIGHT enjoy is something I have to do for school I almost immediately don’t like it. xD

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      1. Haha same here! I don’t like reading books in school because of the awful pace everyone has to stay at, and it’s always really easy for me to space out when someone’s reading aloud. We read To Kill a Mockingbird in English class, and although I’m sure it did help me understand the book more, it took so long to finish it it just became irritating!

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      2. I had to read that one too and I can’t even remember if I ever finished it or not! I do plan on going back to it at some point though! I feel like it’s an important book to read!

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  2. Oh my goooooooosh. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. I honestly want to annotate books because I want to write down my reaction to funny scenes, and to “document” my thoughts. BUT I REALLY REALLY CAN’T. I can’t dogear it, and when I get pages slightly wet or rip it a little, I just tear up inside because I RUINED THE PRECIOUS BOOK. So while I would LOVE to write in books, I really can’t because my conscience won’t let me. XD

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    1. Oh, then you’re definitely not allowed to ever see my books. xD I am known to dogear pages! And I might have gotten stains on some of the pages of older books because I was eating while reading – never doing that again. But ‘ruining’ the book is the most fun part of reading! Obviously not ruin it to the point of never being able to read it again, but cracked spines, highlighted pages and tabs are so fun to look at!

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  3. Hmmm, this really got me thinking! I think highlighting/annotating brings back negative reminders of my school days. I hated writing in my books with a passion and I was forced to do so for a grade, so it’s been a negative thing for me in the past. But now I have caught myself thinking that I would love to annotate. I’ll have to try it!

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    1. Oh, I definitely understand that! I’m the same way! If my English teacher could see the books I had to read for his class and then compare them to the books I have read this year for fun – he would be surprised! A) because I actually read so many books already and B) because I annotated them to some extent! I usually wouldn’t even read the books I had to for class because HAVING to read them made me hate doing it! You should definitely try it some day and let me know what you think!

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  4. I can really pick one side. On the academic side I have highlighted, tabbed, and written in books so that I could use them effectively for my papers. However, my own personal favorites…I’m not sure about that. I kind of like the surprise of finding my favorite parts in the stories or finding different clues. I would lean more to no mark-ups!

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    1. I definitely get that! I like to re-read scenes at random sometimes, years after finishing a book. So having tabs in them helps me find what I’m looking for. Before I started my re-read of ACOMAF I actually randomly one afternoon sat down in front of my bookshelf, picked up the book and read different scenes from the book for an hour and I loved that I was able to do it!

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  5. I’m a little weird about it. I used to refuse to ever mark in my books, but I have about a dozen that are filled with underlines and notes in the margins. I don’t write in my hardcovers, though, just paperback. I’ve noticed I also seem to only mark in books I think I’ll keep for sure, but I pass on marking in things that were more expensive (like even used copies of some paperback editions of certain classics are as much as a new paperback of a more recent release). I still use way more flags than anything else, though.

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    1. I own 95% paperback, I think. And now that you said it, I don’t think I’ve written in many of my hardcovers! I looked through them yesterday and I think the only hardcover I highlighted in was A Torch Against The Night and then I used a pencil to write in it. While I usually use a pen and don’t feel bad about it. Maybe hardcovers are a different thing altogether because they can be really expensive! That’s a really great point you made!

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  6. I was EXTREMELY against it before I entered undergrad. When I started taking English Literature, it seemed odd NOT to write in your books. My one professor, an absolutely amazing man, told me that writing in them makes them more personal. You can go back and see what lines made you think more and what passages just resonated with you more than other sections of the novel. I don’t go crazy, but most of my children’s literature has little notes and highlights and what not to emphasize important passages – both for my studies and simply for me. I don’t tend to do this as much when reading young adult and adult literature, but I definitely want to start. I was trying to find a quote the other day in Glass Sword that I really adored and I couldn’t find it…it was so frustrating! The only thing I have against sticky notes is they can make your pages gross after a while. I went to read “The Little Prince” and when I tried to remove the sticky notes, all the pages started sticking together (ew). But I’m 100% for writing in books…but no dog ears!

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    1. Yes, that’s definitely one of things I loved most about having marked/highlighted scenes! Being able to look back and seeing what resonated with you!

      Urgh, I hate when I can’t find a quote I really enjoyed! I will usually only really mark quotes during re-reads, while I’m reading a book for the first time, I rarely do it. I just get too into the action that I don’t pay too much attention to things that are quote-worthy! But that’s why I love re-reading books!

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  7. Generally it’s a no. However there are definitely exceptions, the exceptions all include a second copy specifically to write in.

    I feel like I’ve said this a lot on various places recently but I once took part in a round robin type thing where 7 of us picked our favourite Harry Potter books a wrote some bits about our favourite parts, and then sent them round so by the time your own book got back to you you had 6 other people’s comments and I did love seeing what everyone else thought about it. I’m so tempted to do something similar again

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    1. That sounds like such a fun thing to do! I would definitely love to do that too with a few people! How much do you love that particular Harry Potter now that you have all of those comments in there?

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      1. I love it – I bought a second paperback (cheaper to post lol) so it’s not the hardback I bought when it was first released but I love it. It definitely made me look at bits in different ways and appreciate some things I’d overlooked.

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  8. Ohh lovely post Swetlana! I personally have never written in any of my books, but I LOVE making little annotations, notes or highlights whenever I’m reading on my phone or ereader. One of the reasons I love ebooks so much! I don’t think I could write in my physical books though haha. Maybe sticky notes? But those bring me to books I have to mark up for school… 😩🙈 But I do love the idea of making notes and highlights as I read!

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  9. I never write or highlight my novels, but I do mark the edge of the pages (just a tiny little bit) when I find a good quote or passage. I also write my name and the date and location where I bought the book in the first page. That way when I’m old and my grandchildren/children read my books they’ll see the places I’ve been to buy the books, and I can reminisce on a particular memory of buying the book!

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    1. Oh that is such an interesting thing to do! I used to write my name and the month and year I bought a book but I never thought of putting where I bought a book! I should do that to the books I own for sure!

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  10. I loved reading your post of annotating books. I have been using the method of colourful sticky tabs to highlight important scenes or quotes and other things that I loved in the books. But lately I have been considering writing/highlighting in my books the next time I read them but then I get anxious that I will mess up the book. I have never written or highlighted my books in my life time but that may change this year, maybe.

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    1. I was honestly feeling the exact same way when I first started highlighting/marking in my books and it took me a couple of books to feel completely comfortable doing it and now I absolutely love it! You should give it a try and if you end up not enjoying it, you don’t have to continue doing it.

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