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Thread: Marginalia

  1. #1
    Senior Member Makers's Avatar
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    Marginalia

    I'm curious how you mark your books. Personally, I write one small x next to a passage developing on a theme and another in the corner of that page, so it is easier to find later. In the same manner, I use exclamation marks for passages I like and question marks for ones I don't understand. I'm fairly liberal with underlining and bracketing. I'll also draw a box around interesting phrases. One example I can think of now is Shakespeare's "sluttish time."

    In the back of my book, I write words I don't know, so I can look them up later. If I'm feeling really motivated, I'll write these words on a note card with the definition. That way, I can flip through them from time to time. I may also list characters, plot summery, or thesis ideas. However, on my first read I normally don't get too caught up with the latter. I think it's important to go over a book more than once if you expect to have much to say about it, but maybe, that's just me.

    I'd post some pictures if I were around my books. It'd be great if you would like to share. I don't know if anyone' seen the collection of David Foster Wallace's books. Here's the link...DFW He took it to another level. It can be fun to find used books with marginalia in it, because it's like having a conversation with a third party. The first and second, being you and the author. Although, this third person can sometimes seem an unwelcome intruder.
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  2. #2
    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    The most I've ever done is break out a highlighter on what I consider to be "key" passages for later quick/essential review.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Linnea's Avatar
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    I've used a highlighter and written notes on books when I've been studying but otherwise I don't.

  4. #4
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    I've spent upwards of an hour searching for used textbooks with minimal consumer created marking.
    I'm suspicious of people who say they'll die for a flag but won't wear a mask for their neighbor.

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    I dislike highlighters. I use pencil when I can and a pen if nothing else is available. I underline things I think are important and circle words and phrases. I write abbreviated bullet points in the margins with the main ideas I might want to remember, or with a timeline of events. When I agree with something, I'll make a tick next to it in the margin. If I don't, I'll mark an x. If something is surprising or shocking, I'll add an exclamation mark. If I have to do further research on anything, I add a question mark. I also write down questions I plan to look up later but never do. Occasionally I might add a happy face.

    I have no respect for the physical integrity of a book, unless it's a very fancy edition. (I have a beautiful Art Of War edition with gilded edges which I wouldn't dream of taking a pencil to, for example, but I have two other paperback editions I can make my martyrs.)
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  6. #6
    chaotic neutral shitpost jigglypuff's Avatar
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    notes on ripped up strips of post-its. i hate finding permanent notes in books as i find the commentary distracting and often superfluous, and like to keep my books "clean" for reselling, lending or gifting purposes later.
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  7. #7
    libertine librarian sandwitch's Avatar
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    I have a natural disinclination to write in books, but I've found that increased interaction with the text generally improves my reading experience. When I was better at journaling, I would sometimes write excerpts of text in my journal and write my reflections. Now, I mostly underline statements that I consider significant or want to find later. I really enjoy the "highlight" function on the kindle and use that frequently. My own notes are generally reserved for times when I take issue with a concept and want to remember why, or in novels I'll do it to indicate foreshadowing and recurring themes.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Limes's Avatar
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    The only time I've ever written in a book, has been when I wanted to create some sort of "I was here" type review. I remember as a kid, really enjoying one book called Harry and Hortense at hormone high by Paul Zindel and a few readers before me had added little comments in the back cover. I added a comment and then stole the book from the school library.

  9. #9
    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    I have a general...ok, religious, policy of never writing in books. Its like pissing in the holy water, though I'm sure can be traced back to the fact that one doesn't own the books reads when younger...and so writing in them would be considered relatively unthinkable. Writing in them when older makes me think of pissing in the holy water. You can't ever take it back out...

  10. #10
    <3 gator's Avatar
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    I don't, though I see the wisdom in doing so. I feel a lot of resistance to damaging books in any way. I don't even break the bindings on them. You can barely tell that I've read most of my books.

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