I Wrote in a Book and I Liked It. Gasp! Let’s Discuss.

Posted September 16, 2017 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss / 46 Comments

So, I just reread Three Dark Crowns in preparation for reading One Dark Throne (and I’m SO glad I did—I had no idea how much I’d forgotten!). And I underlined things. Yep, you read that right—I underlined things.

Okay, you might not be all that surprised to hear that someone underlined passages in a book, but both my husband and my daughter saw me doing it and they were shocked. Possibly appalled (at least on my behalf).

You see, I don’t write in books. I don’t crease their spines. I don’t dog-ear or let my books get wet near the pool. Books are treasured items that must be kept pristine. Perfect.

So what made me change? (Well, at least take a little baby step toward change.)

I think it started because I did a traveling ARC review for After the Woods way back in February of 2016 where we were required to write in the book. And I did. A lot. And I kind of loved it. It felt so freeing to write all of my thoughts and feelings down while I was reading, and especially to write down my predictions about what might happen next. That was my first experience writing in a book and it paved the way for more…

Next, I started underlining things and writing little notes in the books I read for my homeschooling classes. I mean, that totally makes sense, right? I’m teaching the class, so it’s good for me to write my observations and point out foreshadowing and the like.

But I still had never written in my own book that I was reading for pleasure. It still felt a bit like sacrilege. Until now.

I had considered doing a traveling reread of Three Dark Crowns before One Dark Throne came out and sending the book around for people to write their own comments in and then pass it on… but you all know what my July and August turned out to be like. I just didn’t manage it.

Still, I wanted to do a reread of TDC (something else I NEVER do). A careful one. So, I reread my spoiler-filled discussion of the book with my predictions (and all 50,000 comments from readers with their predictions), and I sat down, red pen in hand to truly study the book. (I would have written comments as well, but I want my oldest to read the book and I didn’t want to end up giving spoilers. I might go and add some later! Or tell him to add some… Ooh, yeah, that’s a great idea!)

I loved it. I got so much more out of the book (and found SO many clues that I’d missed the first time reading it). In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do the same with One Dark Throne when I started reading it last night (somehow that felt even crazier because it’s not a reread—I know, I’m living on the edge here).

I’m also underlining things in Brooding YA Hero as I’m reading it (though those aren’t clues, just fun lines that I love—there are lots of them!) Maybe this will become a thing.

Of course, one drawback to writing in my books is that I can’t pass them along to other people, so I can really only do it for books that I’m planning to keep. Still, I think I’ll experiment with this writing in books thing a bit more. We shall see…

Do you write in your books? Would you consider it?
What about for things like dual reviews?

(I’m thinking of throwing the idea out there for my Make Me Read It Giveaway if someone wants to do a dual review with me.)

I want to know!


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46 responses to “I Wrote in a Book and I Liked It. Gasp! Let’s Discuss.

  1. I mostly read ebooks now, but before they were a thing, I always left annotations in books. I am a throwback. That was how I captured my thoughts about what I was reading. And I will tell you, I highlight, bookmark, and leave tons of notes in my ebooks.

  2. I joined an online book club in high school and someone in that group used to write in her books all the time, so we all kind of started doing it and we even sent each other books with our annotations (so you CAN give the book to someone). That’s actually how I got the idea for my Leave a Mark Auctions. I don’t write in my books on a regular basis, but if I want to gift it (usually to my sister), I do sometimes and she enjoys seeing what I thought as I read it – these aren’t re-reads, I’m writing/highlighting as I go along.

  3. I marked up my copy of Hunger Games like nobody’s business. Of course, we had to create entire units from it, so it was massively helpful…until that “friend” borrows it and then loans it out to someone else who is also untrustworthy and you never get it back. Lesson learned. I read almost entirely on my Kindle these days (which is why my bookcase has stacks literally 24 inches from the ceiling), but I have marked things up before. In fact, I was trying to do more of that to help in my own review writing or writing in general when I first started blogging.

  4. I can totally see where writing in books would be pretty freeing, and yet… I just can’t bring myself to do it. 🙂 I love to tab my books – marking favorite quotes, bits of dialogue or scenes. And I often add notes on the tabs or on post-it’s. But full-on writing in the book – I just don’t see myself doing it. For good of for bad, I love keeping them in their pristine condition. 🙂

  5. Ohhh…I couldn’t do that. Lol! I tried doing that even in college with textbooks, but it still just felt wrong! And I wasn’t even going to keep those books! Lol. I think one time even in high school a teacher was like I WANT YOU TO WRITE IN THE BOOK! TAKE NOTES and that kind of thing. I did it, but again, it just felt soooo wrong. I see books are little pieces of art and you wouldn’t go up to a Van Gogh painting and write little observations on it. Unless you would…I can’t say that no one would do that, though I think security might jump on them literally after the first stroke of a letter! I’m not opposed to post it’s though! Those are fine, but then again I usually remove them if I even use them. I might in an ARC, but that’s about it. I end up writing all my review notes in a notebook, then I transfer all the important ones into a journal if I need to read notes before reading the sequel in a year or whenever. And if there are favorite quotes I end up putting those in a special journal as well! So yeah…lots of separate pieces to preserve the beauty of the novel!

  6. First a heads-up, your link to the TDC spoiler review links to your After the Woods review 🙂

    Second… blasphemy! I kid, I kid. Kind of. I mean, blasphemy for me maybe? Though- I suppose *maybe* if I was sure I was keeping it… no, just kidding, not even then. I am too fickle for this, I think? What if my opinions change? Or if I want to give the book away after all? No, I am too indecisive to ever do this. Sticky flags for life 😉

    OH- I did have to write in one once for an ARC tour, but it was more just overall thoughts at the end, which was fine because it wasn’t my book haha

  7. Graaggh I can’t bring myself to write in fiction. If something is wonderful, or I need to comment, I usually do that on Goodreads… but that’s me! I used to write all over the place in my non-fiction books for school. I majored in history, so it was just easier than cross referencing later!

    I’m really glad you’ve had this wonderful freeing experience though, congratulations!

    Stupid question – how in the world do you read a thick paperback and NOT crease the spine? I don’t bend the pages back that far, just enough to read, and all my Song of Ice and Fire books are well creased and cracked. :/ Teach me your magic.

  8. I can’t do it. I just can’t. I too treasure my books and keep them like new. But, I have a feeling if I start writing in them, it may become addictive. The taboo of it. Plus the ease for writing reviews. Yep, I could see me getting hooked on it. LOL

  9. I annotated all my required reading for literature classes in college. I mostly did it because we were allowed to bring the books to our final. When you’re taking a test, it’s a lot easier to skim the annotations than to skim the book. Now I don’t annotate books because I trade them at the used bookstore when I’m done with them. The store won’t take books that have too much writing in them.

  10. If I’m going to take notes or jot thoughts, I actually prefer to do it in a notebook, marking page numbers if it’s something I want to go back and see. I just find it easier to read through my notes that way. I’m not that concerned about maintaining perfect books, but I tend to read library books or books from my classroom library, so I wouldn’t want to mark those up. I do like to mark up reference material–cookbooks and hiking guides–with notes about the experience.

    I just read 3 Dark Crowns last month, but now I’m wondering if I should re-read before reading the sequel!

  11. The only time I’ve ever written in a book was in class at school and at university, and even that left me uneasy… I don’t know if I could do it to one of my own personal books, but I guess you never know until you try! I’ll maybe have to reread a book I thought was OK but didn’t love and give it a go! I definitely feel like it would help when I’m writing reviews, because I always forget stuff that I wanted to comment on as I was reading.
    Great post! 🙂

  12. This is a timely post because I just did this myself about a week ago. It was the first time I had written in a book other than a textbook. I did it in pencil very lightly, which didn’t work that well because it made it hard to find the notes when I went to write my review.
    I ALWAYS take notes when I read, so it seemed like a good idea.
    I guess I would need a combination of tabs to mark where I put notes and a pen (if I can bring myself to do it). This is part of the reason I’m leaning toward ebooks now. I can highlight and write notes as much as I want without feeling any guilt.
    I would never write in a signed copy, but I think I’ll start writing more often in my other books, especially if they are used copies. It’s so much easier than having to tote a notepad around with me in addition to the book. I tried using index cards (which, btw, double as bookmarks) but I would write more than what would fit on one card. Maybe if I bought bigger cards… You’ve got me thinking, lol.
    Anyway, great post!

  13. I CAN’T write in a book unless it’s a school book. College was the last time I ever wrote in a book and it was a book I had to buy for the class. With eBooks; you can make notes, highlight, etc… I mainly read eBooks and can do notes, make thoughts, and highlight. With them it doesn’t feel like I’m defiling my book ^_^. As for hardcopy or paperbacks, NO NO NO. ^_^

  14. I think you’re very brave.? I mean, I have NO PROBLEM AT ALL!! with people treating their books how they want and like if you enjoy writing in them, then that’s awesome! I don’t think I could though….although I have this fantasy that if I ever get published I would do one of those “author annoted” books and write in my own book.? But like, haha, if that ever happens. But writing in books would definitely make it more personal! And it’d also be fun to go back after several years and see what you wrote, right?!

  15. I don’t write in books but I remember way back when I was at school I used to for English class (in pencil) and it was great. You could write down your thoughts, highlight passages you liked it. It’s brilliant. I did get some pagemarkers to mark quotes I liked but found that I didn’t use them anywhere near enough. I do like the idea of writing in a book and sending it on to someone else. It would be fun and interesting to see the things which stood out to others in a book.

  16. I mostly read on my kindle now so I highlight and make comments all the time. I like this idea of a traveling ARC though! I wonder if I could do this for some of my books. Hmmm.

  17. I don’t like to write in books, but I have done a post-it note type thing in the past where I would put a note with writing at a line I wanted to make sure I remembered for later on when I review. These days I just don’t have the time or remember half the time to do it. Or I’ll go make a note on Goodreads with an update of where I am in the book when I read something. Of course I am one of those who folds the corner of the page down to mark my page, only in paperbacks for some reason though. I tried highlighting and writing in college books, but it didn’t help me.

  18. I think you might be on to something. I might try this if I ever actually read a physical book. I have been buried in my kindle lately with eARCs. I don’t make notes on my kindle even though I know that is an option. I do sometimes highlight passages but the furthest I have went has been to make notes in my Bullet Journal. I might give this a try, just to see if I enjoy it as much as you did. Thanks for sharing this!

  19. I love the title of this post!! I too did an ARC review that had passed through other hands and was returning to the author at the end of the tour. It was kind of liberating! I have tried page flags and I like them but after time I’m not always sure what I was flagging and sometimes my toddler pulls thems out! I find writing notes and underlining to be SO useful when I write reviews and the quality of my reviews is greatly improved. I havent written in a finished copy yet but I think I just might now. Happy Reading! (and writing)

  20. Jen

    For me, I am addicted to different colors of highlighting in my Kindle or different colors of tabs for my paperback and hardbacks. I use orange as the color to mark clues or other things that haven’t been answered yet. And I love doing that and being able to figure out things that way. So I don’t think I could ever write in a book, but I’ve learned to never say never because you don’t know how you’ll feel about something a few years down the road!?

  21. I’m cringing. I’m like you I don’t dog-ear my books. My mother does and I fuss about it. I highlighted in textbooks before, but that was school. I never written in books unless it was a journal.

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