Storytime: Three years ago, back in 2015, Ariel Bissett published a video on her YouTube Channel called Annotating Your Books. At first I thought that the idea of any form of damaging your books was sacrilegious, however Ariel completely changed my mind. She brought up two very good points (I highly recommend watching the video, but this is what I got out of it):
- If your favourite author annotated a book, you wouldn’t find that sacrilegious (Hell I would pay a crazy amount of money for said annotated book if it was Tolkien’s thoughts)
- Why am I keeping my books in perfect condition, like books at the library or recently bought from a bookstore? (Why should my books look like everyone elses, they are my books and I paid good money for them, I love them and it’s not like I am going to set them on fire)
The longer these thoughts remained in my head, the more I thought about how ridiculous readers gasp, insult, and cry when they see cracked spines, page folding art, and defacing book covers/pages. None of these are signs of hating the book or disrespecting the author’s hard work. Those cracked spines are proof that you read that book, maybe multiple time or certain scenes multiple times. Folding the pages to make words shows appreciation in its own unique way. Defacing book covers and pages, takes time and dedication to make the story you love even more beautiful (just look at Olivia’s from iLivieforbooks, beautiful drawings, and tell me you wouldn’t want those over the given black covers). As I do not have a shred of drawing talent in my bone, I am more than willing to pay an artist to deface the covers of my books then take off the dust jacket and see nothing but boring black.
Naturally over the years I sort of forgot, as I was busy with school, when something happened to me. Now for some context, I was THAT kid in school who read books all the time. I brought a book to read while waiting for the teacher and one day I decided to read a V.E.Schwab book with me. I can’t remember if it was Vicious, or A Darker Shade of Magic, but what I do remember was that my classmates looked at me like I crazy because not only did I cracked the spine, but I held it in one hand. I held it with one hand and the front cover (along with the pages I just read) was wrapped around the spine so the front cover could touch the back cover.
They felt so offended, and all I could think was “Are you F*CKING kidding me?!” Firstly I bought that book- it’s mine. Secondly, no one is getting hurt in this process, so why the hell are they looking at me like I just killed someone?! Thirdly, they all hardly ever read compared to me so they shouldn’t have the right to judge how I read. Finally, I was holding a heavy binder, textbook and a pencil case in my left hand. I needed a way to flip the pages, and hold the book with one hand, and it worked.
I pointed out all of these facts to them, and you know how it ended? It ended with me slightly annoyed finishing my book (with one hand), while they continued to judge me. Cracking spines isn’t a crime, so let it go.
Anyways after that happened, I found my self watching Ariel’s video about annotating again. To this day, I have never (at least that I know of) annotated. I think the closest I came to it was writing my security information on a blank page in Because You Love To Hate Me (I was on the phone, nowhere near paper, and needed to wait that shit down), even then I ripped that page out flawlessly, so you can’t even tell I wrote anything in that book.
More time passed by, and I continued to hear these stories about how liberating it is to annotate, but I think the final push was my birthday gift I got last month.
I got this beautiful collection of 6 Shakespeare volumes from an old used bookstore. One of these volumes (#4 – Romeo & Juliet), was briefly annotated (with a pencil) by its previous owner. Now they didn’t do much, but it still was so cool. This mysterious person was brave enough to annotate, and a piece of them will live on. Now I personally love my family, and the crazy stories I hear about my great-great something, so I want to annotate.
I want to annotate so my great, great-grandchildren will have a way of knowing me even after I have long passed (this way they can hear the stories of what happened to me, and what my personal thoughts are). I spend a great deal of life reading, so what better way for people to get to know me then to see my thoughts about things. Which brings me to my 2018 Project.
My 2018 Project:
Books I plan on annotating:
- My Shakespeare collection (volumes 1-6), as I already have a big bindup of his works, so I might as well annotate the doubles I own.
- Sightwitch by Susan Dennard
- Zenith by Lindsay Cummings & Sasha Alsberg
From there, who knows what other books I will consider next. I’m not saying I will annotate every book I own, but a select few and when the mood strikes me. I also don’t know if I will like annotating as the best time to do such is when you read the book, not afterwards. So this project will either be the start or end of something new.
What I Plan To Use:
After some research (because I’m that kind of gal), I found all sorts of methods on how to annotate, and will be mixing methods depending on the book.
I will be using Colour highlighters, Sticky Notes (plot summaries of each chapter), Blank pages (overall thoughts, Death Count, Character Names), Coloured Tabs (Favourite scenes), Pencils and Gel Pens (to write thoughts/questions in the margins), Circling/Squaring (random important information, to define, introducing a new concept/character, or to draw a Line/Arrow to connect it with my thoughts in the margin)
I will NOT be using Markers (as they bleed), pens (as they come in boring colours), black out/white out (too hardcore for my liking).
Here’s hoping I do not end up regretting this, but only time will tell.