Thursday, 24 October 2013

Marginalia

Marginalia: notes in the margin.
Who knew this was a thing? I just thought I was a messy reader.
I suspect marginalia might be a 'marmite' activity? I have a vague memory of a Twitter discussion some time ago where Tweeps were either for or against but very clear in their convictions one way or the other. Of course, opinions are what we love about Twitter but I remember being a little taken aback by the level of *outrage* at my confession of how I *treat* books #WithNoRespect.
As a teacher I've worked with students who had to be coaxed gently into the the act of annotation. I would take in my own copies of texts to show how I had marked them up. Then, once I'd convinced them of the value of adding their own words to the sacred printed page, I would be sure to reminded they were marking (important aspects of) text not colouring it in. The availability of highlighters in the modern classroom have a lot to answer for. It's not always practical or cost effective to have students writing in books but I do think it adds something to the reading of a text, a conversation with the author, a souvenir of the thoughts you shared. Sticky notes are good - that way the reader can 'mark-up' the text they're studying but remove all the notes later to ensure the text can be passed on in good condition, and they can take the sticky notes home as a momento.
In other news I am struggling to balance writing my stories with studying for my CREATIVE WRITING MA. Ironic? I think it's just a case of balance and settling in. I also recognise that, for me, *study* can easily drift into the ultimate procrastination activity. I'm drawn to research in a BIG way, in my writing, my (real-life) work and any formal study I've ever undertaken. It's the finding-stuff-out and seeing-what-people-think that *gets* me. An extension of my pathological nosiness? That and the opportunity to colour-in other people's words!



11 comments:

  1. I always tell students that there are books you annotate, and books you don't Having said that, most of my besties have pages turned down and bits I might like to pinch highlighted. AND THIS is where ebooks DON'T WORK!! Hahaha.

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    1. You are SO right. I do have some ebooks and I do use the highlighter and comments thingy but IT'S NOT THE SAME ;(

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  2. Great to see you writing. I'm a big fan of writing in books. I especially like to write in cookery books. I love a book to look tattered and torn and splashed and worn and loved.

    I recall one of my English teachers used to lend me books on the proviso that I must not bend the spines! It made reading a lot less pleasurable and the books remained unloved.. Each to their own.

    (I got my GCSE texts confiscated for having too many annotations!)

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  3. Oh my cookery books are full of my scribbles and spills... I have a friend who reads books without breaking the spine, I'm still not sure how she does it ... She is resigned to fact that I *spoil* them but lends them anyway!

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  4. OH that's really funny! I remember when my sister and I were travelling around Indonesia we would often tear a book in two so that we could read it simultaneously. Seems a little extreme now but it worked for us at the time! Your friend would die if she heard that story...

    I have written myself a note to write a poem about well-loved books at some point ;) x

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  5. Oh Pooky, please PLEASE do write a poem about this. I tried - I had marginalia as mental paraphernalia .. ;@
    I will tell my friend about you and your sister, she might cry!
    MrT was taken aback that I'd torn the preface from something last week because I didn't want to carry the whole thing around with me ... Too far?!!!

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    1. ha ha! These days I only tend to read on my iphone via the kindle app so I don't have the weight issue but I can totally get behind it as an idea! I can't do e-cookery books though. No. I need the thumbrints and the splashes. I will write that poem. It will come to me soon I hope. Perhaps you can write one too and they'll be buddy poems x

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    2. I am far too much of a wimp to get drawn into a joint poetry venture - I know my limits ;)
      I do use MYpad for recipes, but it's something of a miracle each time that it makes it through alive. X

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  6. If you 'own' a book, it's your plaything. *mwahahaha* I make notes in cookery books e.g use less sugar, but researching I like to make separate notes with page number refs.

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  7. I like your thinking Jacqueline. It's fascinating how we all have our own *logic* on this one ... Needs more research me thinks *reaches for highlighter* ;)

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  8. Right Mrs T. I believe it's time for an update please... xxx

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