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?