Friday, April 11, 2008

to underline, or not to underline

I am a devout underliner, I love reading my markings later on. I love being able to find what I enjoyed about the book. I also write tons of stuff in the margins, interesting things that I think go with the book, or things like (WOW!) or (faith) so that I can refer back to quotes and themes.

Are you an underliner or an anti-underliner? At my latest book club meeting I was the only underliner, everyone else had their books in pristine condition...I love reading a well read and enjoyed book, that is probably why I do it. I also mark in the back the page numbers for things that I will want to look back on, quotes and interesting themes.

To underline, or not to underline...what do you think?





12 comments:

monix said...

I usually know early on if I will be keeping a book for life - in that case, I will underline and also make notes in the margin. If a book is going to be recycled then I don't mark it. However, I really quite like to buy old books with scribbles and underlining and try to imagine the person who made them and what the book meant to them.

Beastmomma said...

I tend to underline, but sometimes I make exceptions to that rule depending on where I am reading the book. Is it easy for me to find something with which to mark the book? Out of curiosity, what does it mean when you write the word "faith" in the margin?

Megan said...

I'm a big book preservationist. For the most part it physically pains me to write in books or do pretty much anything that will mar the uh...pristine condition of the book. I am, however, a devout post-it noter. If I really like a book, it's usually bristling with little notes by the time I finish! Then I can have my thoughts on the book at hand, but if I want to give it away to someone or something, I can take out the post-its and it's like new again!

bethany said...

monix-
that makes sense....I tend to underline everything, I also keep everything too...I hoard books!

I feel the same way about someone elses' markings...they are too cool!

beastmomma-
do you use pen or pencil, or whatever is around? I used to use pen...now I lean more toward pencil.

Oh, and the "faith" was just an example. I have used it, but I can't think of an example. I will use themes like that along with an asterisk whenever there is a good quote though.

megan-
Oh, that does make sense, but I just love it too much!
I can see what you are saying, especially when you are giving the book to someone else! People always comment back to me about how they enjoy markings though, so I don't know...I don't think I'll curve my habit just yet. But, like I said...I have transitioned to pencil...that is a little less permanent, right?

aka_Nik said...

I am an underliner all the way. But I know some people get upset at underlined books, so it's made me hesitant as of late. I still find that even when I try not to underline, I still do. I guess you can't fight it.

beastmomma said...

oI use whatever is around to underline. I am not picky.

SadOatcakes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shereadsbooks said...

I occasionally underline, but only in pencil -- never pen or highlighter! I think this is part of my musical training; every chorister knows that you must mark your music, but that to do so in anything permanent is a dreadful sin.

I don't underline so much as circle typos, and write big question marks next to grammatically inscrutable passages. And sometimes if the prose is very bad, I write mini diatribes in the margins.

ARCs are fun for that, especially.

Hsien Lei said...

I use a highlighter! *gasp* :) I also dog ear pages unless I have little post-it flags at the ready.

And it's been so long since I had a music lesson that I'd forgotten we used to mark on our music in pencil. Ahhh, fond memories.

*Here via Sunday Salon.

Mrs. B. said...

Well...I do not normally underline ficion but I usually go to town on non-fiction. The one novel that I did underline a bit was Little Women, there were just so many principles to glean from that book I couldn't leave it blank.
I'm not anti-underline as far as fiction goes, I just can't usually bring myself to do it to a book. ;) My mom is an underliner. She has stars, exclaimation points, comments, brackets, and page numbers littering the pages of her most loved books. Its a bit distracting when I borrow one from her...I always have to try and decipher why she would have found a particular passage so important. :)
To each her own!

Trish said...

If I underline or make notes it takes me twice as long to read, so I generally don't anymore. My books in college are heavily underlined and footnoted, though--some in pen but mostly in pencil. I always found it easier to find a particular passage quickly when writing a paper or in class if I had it marked (and tended to remember it better if I marked it).

Now, I just don't want to take the time. I buy a lot of book second hand and while I like when I find something left behind in the book (plane tickets, pictures, receipts...some evidence that someone real had the book before me), I get really annoyed when it is underlined or has notes. It really distracts me when I am reading--especially if I can't follow the person's thought process. I read my sister's copy of Heart of Darkness last year because mine is too marked up to read, but she used different color highlighters for different things and finally I had to just look past it all.

HOWEVER, when I am finished with a book, I'll write my name in the front cover and the date I finished. I've debated on whether it is good to do this or not (marked up books lose their value), but I can't help it. I LOVE picking up a book from the shelf and seeing its history.

Wow, sorry to talk your ear off! :)

raych said...

I don't underline, ever. I DO break my spines, and dog-ear my pages, and I love receiving books with broken spines and dog-eared pages (nothing sucks more than borrowing a book from people who don't do these things). When I come across something that amazes (or irks...usually irks) me, and I know I'll want to comment on it when I review, I dog-ear the bottom corner. Rarely do I come back to a page and think, What was it that interested me? Usually I'm all, OH YEAH! That irritating grammatical error.
I love Trish's idea of writing in when she'd read the book. Think I'll start.