To Annotate or Not to Annotate…

A couple of weeks ago, I pictured a dogeared page on my Bookstagram and people were up in arms. I got a few responses from folks who (with figurative tears in their eyes) were upset with me for folding over the page of a book.

To me, this doesn’t seem like an offense. I’ve done many things to books that people in the reading world should never hear about. I won’t say what because it’s pretty gruesome and I now have books in little plastic baggies because of it.

But dogearing or even annotating your books doesn’t seem like a crime. If anything, it seems like a way to interact with your reads and make you even more invested in the story. Why? Because you’re including your own thoughts and feelings throughout the book. It’s almost like scrapbooking. You create these beautiful pages to remember moments in your life. If many of your moments are between the pages of a book, then why not scrapbook those pages as well? I mean, I’ve seen whole bibles studded with annotations and illustrations like a personal sketchbook.

So I put together a little list of Pros and Cons with annotating books. I know that this isn’t everyone’s forte, but I’ve weighed them all and love spending time writing notes in the margins and using all the sticky notes I can find.

However, I think I draw the line at illustrating and drawing fully into my books.

Pros

You get to keep real memories of your time reading this book.

I think this is the loveliest part of annotating your books. You get to read about the first time you read a book or look back at something you thought was incredible. I love highlighting quotes and dogearing passages. I might even go back into other books so I can highlight those quotes I’ve already dogeared.

It’s always fun to look back at what you’ve read and the person you were when you read it.

There are some books I’ve dogeared from years ago and I know that I’m not the same person I was when I first read them. It’s always fun to check out these reads and see if those quotes and notes still resonate with you even as time has gone by. It’s also even more fun when other stuff pops up at you that you didn’t think to see before.

I love sticky notes

I seriously have an issue with sticky notes. A good issue, but a bad one because I keep buying them. I’m a huge fan of cute stationery and I’ll basically need an excuse to use them up.

Cons

It might damage your book to irreparable state

This is something you might worry about. I know I do. I have two books that I store in plastic baggies because the spine has already lost all integrity. It sucks that my books are in this condition, but something you should keep in mind. This goes double for those spine crackers out there.

Sticky notes unstick over time

Oh yes, I’ve seen this happen where all my sticky notes weren’t as sticky as I thought and the passage or comment I left falls out of the book and I’m confused. What was it that I liked about this book? Can I like it again? Then it becomes a little bit of a treasure hunt to find that quote once more.

You might find what you wrote to be pretty silly

Oh, I feel the remorse of so many notes I’ve left. Some make perfect sense, while others don’t. I have a random quote in my bible even highlighted that I have no idea why I did that. It wasn’t as good as I remember and I honestly felt a little silly after. It’s a possible issue, but something you might look forward to. That’s if you’re the type to laugh at yourself.

Do you like to annotate your books? Why or why not?

7 thoughts on “To Annotate or Not to Annotate…

  1. I usually dog ear a page if the passage stuck out to me! It’s super helpful for writing reviews to remind myself or what I loved along the way, as opposed to how the last page made me feel – but I also just love flipping back through them when I’m finished with the book. I don’t normally annotate b/c …it stresses me out haha I don’t like the appearance of underlines and dont want them in my beautiful books!

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  2. I dog ear my books all the time! Generally only paperbacks and preferably used books, but I don’t really see anything wrong with dog earring tbh. I also like underlining my favourite passages to I can find them later

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  3. I do fold pages… usually so I remember where I was, because I don’t carry book marks. I don’t even think I own a book mark… and when I was studying I annotated and put sticky notes in books. I really can’t see why not… I like my books to look loved!

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  4. I personally don’t like writing in my books because I think it’s so distracting to find notes when you’re rereading it but I do understand the appeal! And I either want my books to look perfect: new and shiny with clean spines, or be completely mine whether that means cracking the spine or spilling something on it. I just feel that’s inevitable with well loved books. But I think ultimately I want them to be in a shape that I can reread them again so I fell sorry for your books in plastic bags! 🙈

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  5. I highlight, Post It, write in, dog-ear, and flag w/washi tape CONSTANTLY. I paid good money for those books, you know? I want them to be as loved as possible. I want them to sit on my shelves and hold memories of what I thought at certain key scenes or at certain quotes.

    People who I share my books with are allowed to write in them as well. That’s like handing over a small piece of your heart and them handing back a sliver of theirs.

    I love a well-read, hand rolled book!

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  6. If it’s a book I’m studying, I highlight, make notes, and dog ear until the cows come home. If it’s a personal book, I make notes in a notebook, writing down the quote and noting the chapter and page, and I may go back later and write about it further. The reason I use a notebook is because I’m not likely to keep a book unless I’m in love with it. If I’m not in love with it, I plan to donate it or give it away, and I want to leave it in good condition. If I’m in love with it, I want it in pristine condition for myself. But it doesn’t bother me in the least what others do with their books. To each their own. 🙂

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  7. I always dog-ear pages when I find a word I love. I love finding new words and my books are starting to grow fat with folded corners.

    I would love to start, however, making more notes for my book reviews. Do you have a blog post about your annotation process?

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