Bookish Thoughts: Putting Pen to Paper


I am one of those horrible readers who likes to highlight passages, scribble notes in margins, press forward page corners.

I never used to be. I used to scowl at my dad each time he borrowed one of my books only to bend back the spine or splash his tea across its lily white pages.

Then I read 84 Charing Cross Road and it changed my perspective. I saw the value in leaving a piece of yourself behind, of holding a conversation with a future reader or simply with the book itself.

“We did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.”

– Marginalia by Billy Collins

Are you a book vandal too?

13 thoughts on “Bookish Thoughts: Putting Pen to Paper

  1. I had a vandalism phase during my creative writing course :)…It was sort of cathartic to highlight and add notes. I still add highlights, but now it’s restricted to my e-reader, although I’m considering studying an classic soon and may just vandalise my budget paperback.

  2. I don’t write or highlight but I do dogear pages and bend spines – book’s are meant to be read and loved – they aren’t trophies!

  3. I’m a bit odd – there are some books that I make notes, underline, highlight and make all sorts of comments in. My copy of Alif the Unseen has writing of mine on nearly every page. But then there are other books of mine that I hate – and I don’t know how I subconsciously decide – to get a mark on. When I take notes on those books I write in my special little notebook, taking note of page numbers and whatnot. I fill pages in there and leave the book itself untouched.

  4. I’m not a vandal, I totally sticky note the books, but if it’s a book I might actually USE like a textbook type thing. . . I’ll highlight. . . but I’m so much more likely to put a sticky note in the front of the book and write down the important page numbers!

  5. I’m definitely a book vandal — I love making notes in the margins, putting stars next to passages I love, dog-earing pages with particularly awesome quotes. If I had a highlighter handy (which I never do), I’m sure I’d be highlighting all over the place, too! I love the idea of finding evidence of other readers in library books and those I’ve purchased secondhand, so I figure I’ll leave my mark, too!

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