Discussion: Writing in Books?

 

I used to be so adamant about always keeping my books in prime condition. I wanted them to always look shiny and new and I’d always pride myself when the spines of my books were never cracked, the cover never bent, the pages never folded. Over the past year, I’ve been asking myself, why? It’s so hollow, I think. Now, if I see one of my books that’s in perfect condition, often, it’s a book I didn’t enjoy. Of course, that doesn’t mean I go out of my way to destroy them, but I’ve stopped caring about keeping the book barely cracked open so as not to damage the spine. It shows that it’s been read.

Naturally, whether a book is “damaged” or not, isn’t really that big of a deal, but what I’m here to discuss is writing in them. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve written in a book when it wasn’t for school. And when I did, it was usually the faintest line drawn in pencil under a sentence that I liked. It started, when I borrowed a book from my friend and found pages she’d highlighted and underlined. It was so interesting to see parts that she’d enjoyed.

Then, months later, I was rereading I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (this was my third to reading it) and I found it so empty. This is one of my favorite books of all time and yet there was nothing in the physical copy that showed that. I remember reading it and feeling this urge to grab a pencil and add my thoughts. I was a bit nervous at first, tracing barely the smallest line under a sentence I liked in pencil, but as the book went on, I grew bolder. I started adding exclamation marks, comments, boxing passages that I enjoyed. And you know what? I loved it. It made the book and what it meant to me become much more vivid and now when I look at it, I can tell which parts were my favorites, what characters did that irritated me or that I loved. And if I pass it on to someone else, they can get that insight as well. I haven’t been able to do that recently since the last two book I read have been my sister’s, but the next book I read that’s mine, I’m going to annotate all over it if I want to. Maybe I’ll write in pen or highlighter. I’ll add comments and annotate as I go along. Who knows?

What do you think? Do you like to write all over the pages of a book or do you prefer it to be in perfect condition?

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Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

51vhe12rxjl-_sx324_bo1204203200_Title: The Handmaid’s Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood

Publisher: Vintage

Rating; 5/5

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

Well damn. I heard about this book and thought it’d be an interesting read. I wasn’t prepared for how raw and frightening this book would be. I was immediately drawn to this book from the first page. The writing style just seemed so bleak and hopeless while also straight to the point. I was immediately hooked and wanted to know more about the society Offred alluded to and how it worked.

This was a harsh awakening to the fact that rights aren’t always permanent. It’s scary how quickly they can be stripped from you. It was scarily relevant in today’s society, especially with what’s going on in the White House. In some countries, women still don’t have the right to vote and countries such as Saudi Arabia only legalized it a couple of years ago.

I watched a couple interviews with Margaret Atwood and she’s quite adamant about not taking our rights for granted. She talks about how a bunch of new generations are born with the rights and see them as given to them, and she wrote the book to remind people that things aren’t always secure. She’s right, in a way. I grew up barely thinking twice about, but really, decades ago, women were still fighting against gender descrimination in the workspace, and it’s still not exactly equal yet.

This book taught me to value my rights, to not take them for granted, and to continue to fight for women’s rights around the world.

It served as a warning to me, and to others of how things can become, if we allow things to progress as they did in the book.

In short, this book was eye-opening and raw. A definite must-read.

SPOILERS:

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Books I Read in June

I skipped the past couple monthly wrap-ups because I felt like they were kind of boring and irrelevant, but today I thought it’d be fun to do one again.

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Night Film by Marisha Pessl: I finished this book in the beginning of June but this book has stuck with me. This book creeped me out and I was intrigued the whole way through. I loved the premise and I definitely recommend it.

 

 

 

 

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The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir: This is a completely random book but I found this in my house and I thought it would be interesting so I decided to pick it up. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this book and I loved ready about the 1500s and Henry VIII.

 

 

 

 

sky_375wThe Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: Oh my god, I loved this book. It was a really quick read for me and I loved every second of it. I really enjoyed the way Jandy illustrated grief–it was raw and real and didn’t feel romanticized. I used to play in a band, and I loved seeing Lennie play the clarinet and interacting with the band and I enjoyed the musical aspect of the book.

 

 

 

91v1my0wjwlThe Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck: I recently read Of Mice and Men for school and I quite enjoyed it. I had The Grapes of Wrath lying around my house and I’d been putting off reading it and decided to just go for it. I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked this book and found it interesting to read into the lives of migrant workers and families during the Great Depression.