Do you write in your books?
I don’t write in mine and I hate it when I see writing in the margins, which is why I sometimes avoid used books. The writing in the margins interferes with my thoughts about the book. If it’s on the page, I’ll read it, so I’ll read whatever’s written in the margin and it will affect what I think of what I’m reading.
I don’t write in the margins mainly because it takes away reading time to do so. I like to read uninterrupted. I don’t even like to stop to look things up, which is why I typically dislike reading fantasy novels where I have to look up words or names of people in the glossary. It disrupts the reading process. What I do instead is highlight. I highlight every damn thing. If I read a book that has beautiful writing I admire, the pages will be bleeding yellow. I’ll highlight all the passages and don’t realize until I’m done. Then I’ll feel bad for defacing my book.
I think it was only one time I ever wrote in the margins and that’s when I read Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James, a history book about the Haitian Revolution. I was so angry reading about how slaves were treated that my thoughts bled out. I had to write them down, so I wrote in the margins. When I loaned the book to a friend (back when I wasn’t so hung up about loaning books), he found my thoughts interesting to read along with the book’s passages. But I kind of felt bad because my jots in the margins most likely affected how he read. I still have the book, but it’s on the other bookshelf, not this 3-books-deep one we’re still touring.
We’re on the last row of the fantasy shelf, which is the fourth shelf from the bottom or the second shelf from the top. It has a whole lotta books: