Day 10 of the Advent Blogging adventure is about defacing books.
Image courtesy of readitforward.com
This post was inspired by a retweet I saw from the New York Review of Books which said: “Margins are for scribbling, pages for folding, spines for breaking. We have a responsibility to read with pen in hand http://aldai.ly/1zPPc7Q”
The link goes through to an article by Tim Parks called ‘A Weapon for Readers’ which is all about how we, as readers, should break spines so books fall open more easily, how we should write in the margins, turn down corners to bookmark pages, and to generally, physically interact with books. Parks points out the reality that many of us have been brought up to treat books with reverence – to never deface them in any way and leave them spotless, flawless and pristine.
My books fall into two camps – those that I write in because I am using them as study materials, and those that I just read and try to be as careful as possible with. Scribbling all over the page is great in one way – to show that you are taking in what an author says and how they say it, even if it is to disagree with them. But on the other hand, I am always aware that I may lend the book to someone else or give it away and I don’t want my thought processes to disturb those of future readers. Perhaps Parks is writing with keeping books in mind. I normally do this, but as someone who possesses way too many books I will have to cull some at some point and I don’t want to pass on my scribblings to others.
I wonder though if children might become more actively involved with books if they could play with the text and pictures? Of course ‘lift the flap’ books are an example of how play and books work together, but I mean more in terms of writing or drawing in the margins. They would obviously need their own copies, rather than those handed down by schools, but perhaps if they felt a more active participant in the reading process they would become more involved with it.
Do you write in your books or do you keep them as pristine as possible?