Second, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking
tends to express itself in words, spoken or written…
Third, writing your reactions down helps you
to remember the thoughts of the author.”
“There are all kinds of devices for marking a book intelligently
and fruitfully. Here are some of the devices that can be used:
2. Vertical lines at the margin
3. Star, asterisk, or other doodad at the margin.
4. Numbers in the margin.
5. Numbers of other pages in the margin.
6. Circling of key words or phrases.
7. Writing in the margin, or at the top or bottom of page.”
~ Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren in How to Read a Book
When I pick up a book to read first I evaluate:
Is this a book I plan to keep,
or a book I plan to read and release?
Only when I’m certain sure this book is mine, do I go wild with the highlighter.
When I’m fairly sure, I use a soft pencil that can be erased.
If I think I’ll trade it, I flag phrases to be copied.
At times I’ve really, ahem, missed the mark.
I’ve marked up a book, that I’ve decided isn’t worthy of my shelf.
And I’ve kept a book spankin’ clean, decide I want it permanently,
and be terrifically annoyed with myself for not marking the good spots.
Remarking is something that happens the second time through a good book.
I like to acquire used books with markings in them.
Especially if someone wonderful (like my Latin teacher)
owned them before me.
I particularly like to write in the very front page.
When it always took so long to find my favorite quote
from Middlemarch, I began making front notes.
Now I know it’s on p. 228
[Here’s the front page of one of my current reads:
Viet Nam means land of the south
Ho Chi Mingh “He who brings enlightenment”
Korea – High mountains and sparkling water
Pakistan – p. 62
xii First World – free market, Second World – Soviet bloc, Third World – economically underdeveloped
Raj = reign
caste system p. 49]
Dog-earring a book is a withering sin.
Wouldn’t it be fun to read through the libraries of certain people?
Books they’ve marked?
Do you mark your books?
Whose marked-up books would you like to read?