I grew up with a healthy respect for books. Or perhaps obsessive. . . I'll let you judge.
My mom loves books. Our living room decor IS books. (Okay, it's actually jungle print. . . it's more bookish than jungle if you ask me though.)
Shelves upon shelves of books. When I would help dust, I'd always find a title that I hadn't noticed before. My mom accused me of cleaning too slowly because I would read all the titles and pick a book up every now and then.
I would visit a friend's house and find it strange that there were no books in sight. I mean, who doesn't read?
(Apparently, a lot of people. . . Boring old stuffies.)
So of course, I had been taught from a very young age to never, ever deface a book.
Be careful with the cover. Do not think of removing the jacket. Don't dog ear the pages. Never stick anything inside it to keep your place aside from a bookmarker (Oops, the iphone is too large?) Don't set things like cups of water or food on top of your books.
And NEVER ever in a million years- don't you dare, you villainous devil- WRITE IN A BOOK UPON PENALTY OF DEATH.
But you know something? While actually reading books, I read about people who had written notes inside their books. Notes for other people to find. Notes that their children found helpful. Notes that reminded them of the things that they thought of while reading their books. Notes expounding upon their favorite quotes. And so forth.
Well, that's strange. Books promote their own desecration?
No matter. I would never think of doing such a dishonor to my beloved books.
I never thought I would, until, um. . .
I read The Giver by Lois Lowry (If you haven't, it's positively amazing and what are you waiting for? This post can rest; go read the book!). That book. Just wow. There was this one part- I won't tell you which if you haven't read- but I had never been so teared up over a book before. Especially when it wasn't even a character death (though I will say there did seem to be some things very dead and long cold on that page).
I sat with my bed light on, late at night being the only one awake, and hoping so much that all my tears would not ruin the pages of my book because, uh- there were a lot.
I had to get all that I was thinking out somehow. And being a writer, I turned to a pencil (well, pen actually, since no pencil could be found. . . oh, technicalities).
And I wrote INSIDE THE BOOK.
Oh, horror upon horror! If I ever confessed to my mom, what would she say?
But I convinced myself that this was a special case. And that it would never happen again.
You know, at least until some chapters later, and- and-
You guys, it was terrible! It was the second worst thing ever (second to the first time). So I wrote again. I know. I have no will at all when it comes to the heavy sadness that books can incur. And that's what this last one was. It wasn't the crying and can't stop kind of sadness. It was the heavy kind that comes with the loss of something you didn't know you had lost.
Needless to say, after having written these notes in a state of desperation and in pen of all things, none of it was very legible. Even to myself. But I know what it says. When I look at those scramble of mushed together words because the margins were terrible small, I remember those things that I first felt while reading The Giver. The emotions that an author can incite in a person. I remember just why exactly it made me so sad (because in a way, it all seemed too probable).
And now what do I think about writing in books?
I have no shame. My mom might be horrified. But I think it makes a book personally yours when you share your thoughts with it like that. And I see nothing wrong with it, you know, as long as it doesn't hamper your reading it again.
I've been reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I've underlined some of my favorite quotes (that book is full of good stuff). It's so small though. I mean, I have to actually open the book ALL the way. I didn't even realize that I only openbooks halfway to keep from bending the covers until it pained me to open this book completely. It's a subconscious thing, I guess- to protect books (that sounded weird. . .). I've written in some smallish notes, but I've had to resort to taking scraps of paper and sticking them in the pages. Also I've been writing a lot of notes on my phone (mostly because I want to do a review/discussion on it for you guys).
I vote that book publishers make margins and the in between lines larger.
So what do you all think? Do you write in your books? Or is that an abomination of mass grievances? Have you ever considered it in the least?