Scribbling in the Margins

After reading Susan Hill’s book Howard’s End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home where she mentioned her passion for writing in books several times, it set me to thinking about writing in books. Why do we do it? Why do we NOT do it?

As I mentioned last week I have only written in two novels, one being The Moving Toyshop and the other Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man. I have two copies of Memoirs… and I read a lot of it on a train to Scotland and wanted to mark any phrase I I found particularly amusing or interesting. Having never read Sassoon’s prose before, I suppose I was documenting my first reactions to the prose works of a writer who’s poems I loved so much.

As for The Moving Toyshop, the book was almost falling apart when I bought it, so a  few pencil marks wouldn’t hurt. Only pencils, mind. I can’t stand the idea of writing in pen in books (unless it’s on the first page as a note from the giver of the book), or god forbid, highlighter, which was a particular sacrilege I witnessed several times at uni.

I own multiple copies of the same book with the intention of annotating them. I’m not sure why I can’t bring myself to annotate a book that was my only copy. I have underlined things in poetry and quotation books and in one non-fiction book that I wanted to refer back to, but for some reason I feel differently about this.

I know when I start my masters I am going to have to start making notes so that I know what I want to quote or can write thoughts that may help during essay writing. There’s only so many pages of Jane Eyre I can handle so notes will be a nessecity!

I wish I could be one of those people that cracks spines, throws books into bags without a second thought or write any thoughts into the margins but I don’t think I will be that person.

That’s all for now,



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