Let me start off by saying that I have always believed in treating my books in a way that keeps them in pristine condition. No dog-earring pages, no breaking the spine, and definitely no writing in them … until recently.
I’ve committed a bookish sin of writing in my book and I have to say – it’s my kindle’s fault. When I got my kindle, I started using the note taking and highlighting features to make writing book reviews easier. It’s not damaging the book because the book isn’t “real”. I got so used to this style of reading that when I read a real book, I found myself wanting to take notes like I did on my kindle. I used a separate notebook for my notes at first, but that interrupted my reading a lot. So I started using post-it notes. I would put them near interesting lines I liked and sometimes I wrote notes on them.
BUT. One day, I ran out of post-it notes.
And there was this really cool section in Wonder by R. J. Palacio that I was reading. I didn’t have my phone nearby so I couldn’t post it on Goodreads either…and there was this pen right there… I’m not even sure how it happened…
It’s weird how I had anxiety over it. I can’t believe I wrote in my book! (It’s mine by the way, not a friend’s or a library book. Definitely don’t write in those). But then I asked myself why (because I’m going to therapy and that’s what you do. You ask lots of questions like “why are you feeling that way” etc.). Why can’t I write in my books?
I had no answer to that.
Because here’s the thing. I usually keep all the books I buy. They sit on my shelf and look pretty.
I re-read books I own occasionally but I keep them mostly because I’m a hoarder and they’re mine and you can’t have them. I don’t usually lend them out. I might let my kids read them. Might. When they are a lot older and swear on all their Legos that they won’t damage them. So if I’m the only person who ever reads them and I only read them once, what’s stopping me from writing in them?
I started having this idea. This wonderful, awful idea. I could treat my books as a kind of reading journal. Someday, when I pull a book off my shelf, I could look at my past notes and highlights and re-experience what it was like to read it again. I kind of liked that idea. A shelf full of reading experiences.
So I’m writing in another book. With a highlighter. It’s permanent.
(I’m sorry it’s still kind of shocking. The anxiety over doing it hasn’t completely gone away. But I’m still excited to start writing more in my books.)
I’m highlighting The Night Circus as I re-read it for Halloween. I’m going through and highlighting any time food is mentioned. Food is such a huge part of The Night Circus. I want to see how much food is mentioned, what kinds of food, man I need to get some more snacks while I read this. Carmel popcorn is a must. And apple cider.
So there you have it. I now write in my books. I never thought I’d do that.