Once upon a time, I hated writing in books. I hated highlighting in them or taking notes. I thought that it was an awful thing to write in books, and I only did it for school with lot of guilty feelings.
Somewhere along the line, I started using a highlighter in my regular fiction novels. If something particularly strikes me, I mark it up. It started with a yellow highlighter, and eventually became pen, when nothing else is available. It’s like a book tattoo. (These are only my books I do this to… I’d never mark a library book or a book borrowed from a friend.) I also don’t do it if I’m not going to keep the book. To me, marking a book is an act of love. If we’re not in a committed relationship, then I leave it in the condition I found it.
I’ve always loved books with signs of wear. I love it when the spine is cracked and worn, and the cover has marks. I love when I get an old book, and there’s something written inside by someone else. It makes the book look well-loved. I don’t try to wear out my books, but when I read them over and over, sometimes I’m not as careful as I should be. I’m walking along, holding the book, and bump into something. Or I don’t want to put the book down, but I have to because real life, and it ends up face down on a water ring from my drink, or stray veggie soup from my dinner.
That being said, I never dog-ear pages. I will use anything handy as a bookmark (because I so seldom remember to use a real bookmark). I’ll put them face down, or I’ll just close them and hope I remember where I was. Dog-earing pages weakens the page, causing tears. I can almost hear books that have been folded like that crying in despair.
For books like Pride and Prejudice, which I’ve read so many times that I can start anywhere and enjoy it, I use post-it notes to mark my favorite parts. That way, if I’m having a bad day, I can open the book to one of the post-its and read a single section, or read all my post-it marks and enjoy a greatly “abridged” version.
What’s your stand on marking and dog-earing books?