Everything I own is in near-pristine condition. It’s my goal to keep everything neat and tidy and perfect.
I reorganize my bookshelves once a year just because I think they’re pretty and want them to be even prettier. I ra
rely loan my books out because usually, when I get them back, they look worse than when they left. I try not to stuff my books in backpacks or purses because I don’t want the corners to get bent. I don’t eat or drink or cry near my books, for fear of making a mess on the pages.
And with that, I’ve never written in a book, aside from being forced to subsearch in high school. When I reread the classics, I’m enraged that I wrote all throughout The Bell Jar and The Great Gatsby and Fahrenheit 451 when I subsearched.
I don’t like to write in books, so when I had to for a grade, I would write song lyrics that got stuck in my head while I read. I wrote reactions like, “Rude” or “LOL” next to passages. I ripped through pages of Seabiscuit because I hated it. I circled every time “nigger” was said in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. None of my scribbles are meaningful.
One of my professors was baffled when she found that no one wrote in their books for class, because we use textbook rental, and therefore don’t own our books unless we’re rich and/or love them a whole lot.
“I don’t understand how you can read if you’re not interacting with the text,” she exasperated. Or something like that.
Well, I don’t know how you can read when you’re muddying up the text with your scribbles. Lorelai Gilmore said you lose the flow of a movie if you pause it for any reason, and I think the same applies to books — well, at least chapters of books. If you’re constantly stopping to write down your deep, deep, thoughts about what’s going to happen or what something means, doesn’t that sort of ruin the book?
Although, I guess it’s just as distracting when I have to get up and find a pen to note the pages of passages I like. And then later having to go back and read the whole page again to find the passage I liked. Whatever.
I just like things to be clean. Is that so bad?
Are you like me, or are you one of those who has more scribbles than original text in your books? What’s your method? Am I crazy for not writing in my books? Am I going to be shunned bit literati everywhere? Is there still time to save me?