To Annotate, or not to Annotate?

Following on from my post regarding whether or not I finish every book I begin I thought I’d take a look at another contentious issue- that of marginalia. For most people, it seems to be a case of you do, or you don’t.

Does writing in a book enhance your experience of the text, or does it irritate you? If reading a  book previously annotated by others, do their notes and scribblings amuse or annoy you? Do they clarify or frustrate your own thought process? What happens when you read over your own old notes? Do you, like me, spend time wondering if you were trying to be clever that day, or if you thought you were just jotting down a stray thought?

I often make comments in the margins of my own books (never in a borrowed one)  and usually find it conducive to a greater understanding of the text. I also find my notes helpful when reading back over particular sections of books, especially when they are thesis-related, as the scribblings mean that there is something of interest on that page.

I recently saw a book with amazing notes along every page. From the flyleaf, it was clear that the book was a gift from one brother to another, and the giver had taken the time to read the text and then explain his thoughts about the arguments put forth by the author. I thought it was an interesting method of sharing a book, but also wondered if the comments would disrupt the owner’s own reading.

And because I found this interesting, I did a quick search online, with the following links being the most interesting of the various results:


About livesinliminalspaces

I am a PhD candidate in the School of English, whose research focuses on the effect the urban environment and the cityscape has on the behaviour of marginalised characters in the novels from the Twentieth Century.
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One Response to To Annotate, or not to Annotate?

  1. I always scribble notes in the margins of my texts. It helps with my thought process….I feel bad for anyone who may attempt to decipher my ramblings though!

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