Hello, readers! It’s me, A! I know… Shocking: I actually remembered/managed to get in both of my weekly posts this week. Hath hell frozen over?! Who are we to say?
Anyway, welcome one and all, to this week’s edition of the Monday Muse. Truth be told the Muse is not exactly my cuppa… Occasionally I’ll get a good idea and go to the lengths of preparing my thoughts and arguments, but more often than not it takes me by surprise and I flail for something (anything!) to riff on. It’s just a lot of pressure, ok? We have, like, 200 followers. We’re 1/100000 of the way to WordPress fame. (Kidding.)
Today happens to be one of the days when I’ve got a little something up my sleeve. A particular niggling tickle at the back of my brain has been causing me to consider where I stand on a matter that many readers have unwaveringly decisive stances on. I am not one such reader…
Here is my question to you: how do you, dear readers and fellow book lovers, feel about writing on/marking up the pages of your books? I’ve been considering my feelings on this very seriously, but my conclusions are indecisive and confused.
Here are the two sides of the argument that hold me in limbo:
1. I am a bibliophile and a perfectionist so I have a tendency to want to preserve my books exactly as I bought them. There’s nothing like a crisp, clean page. I mean, the main reason I dislike buying paperbacks is that the spines are so easily worn. And bookmarks are my salvation because earmarks drive me insane. Also, some small part of me is certain that one day my Harry Potter books will be worth a great sum of money (but only if they’re in mint condition). *Who am I kidding, I’d NEVER sell my Harry Potter collection. If they did get sold it would be by the heathens calling themselves my great-grandchildren… And if they should be reading this in the future and even consider doing such: SHAME.
2. Annotating, highlighting, and underlining have always served me well in academic settings. Granted, it was practically a requirement in the face of great literary classics, but it made me a more attentive reader and helped me recall information and even be more receptive to foreshadowing clues that I’d previously taken note of. AND, having picked up a good number of used books here and there, I kinda love finding the markings of previous readers. It’s like they’re leading the way, dropping breadcrumbs, showing me why this particular book deserves appreciation. He or she has left a trace of themselves so not only do I feel a connection to the story, but also to another reader, showing me their interpretations, their favorite passages, the sentences that deeply affected them.
Outside the world of academia I haven’t so much as underlined a sentence. I occasionally have the impulse to, but then my love of my personified sheaf of neatly printed and bound pages overtakes me and I ultimately decide against it. Am I some kind of new book snob? Why can’t I bear the leave my mark despite relishing in the input of readers of the past? It’s weird, right?
So that’s my Monday Muse. It’s definitely earned it’s name… No sense of resolution or defining conclusion here. Just a rambling chunk of text that explores dilemma. Honestly, I probably won’t start marking up my books any more than I have been, but I recognize that it is a useful device. And, also, if you look at it the right way, it’s a way of communicating with future readers, whether yourself or future generations or total strangers.
Just something to think about…
Maybe I’ll leave a few marks after all.