Thursday, July 08, 2010

to mark or not to mark ..

i don't particularly enjoy writing in books. this is something i learned from my family, i'm sure. some people use pens and highlighters and colored pencils .. making it easy to tell what they thought when they read a certain book. but i enjoy reading books over again. at least the good ones! and i prefer to read it again without necessarily remembering the same thoughts.

the first time that i remember actually writing in a book was junior year of college. for a class called 'sport and society' we read Friday Night Lights and then needed to write a paper applying issues we'd discussed in class to the book. it was a good book, and i enjoyed it, but i knew that to write a good paper i would need quotes. so i grabbed a pencil and made light vertical lines next to sentences or paragraphs that stuck out. this was enough for me to later use those in my essay. and not so much that it bothered me or others who borrowed the text.

that same technique .. pencil with light lines running down the margins of the paper has continued with me, even though i still don't use it very often. but i run into problems when i read authors like frederick buechner (currently that means A Room Called Remember) or eugene peterson (currently Eat This Book) .. because there are sometimes so many consecutive thoughts and phrases and ideas that i could simply put lines along the edges of all the pages and call it good. but i refrain myself and try to only put lines next to the salient sentences. (i try!) and .. it usually means that i will just need to revisit their books periodically, reading with new eyes and trying to let a little more of their wisdom become my own.