Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the golden rule

One Minute Writer from Sunday: How do you treat the books that you read?

We don't have many rules in our home. In fact, if you're a person who loves rules, you might just want to stay far, far away, because we'd probably make you very, very uncomfortable. However, I do ask that our books be treated well, overall.

I have a few probably weird rules about my own use of books. If a book is purely a for-pleasure book (my amateur detective novels, my HPs, ecc), I don't write in them. Not that I don't want to; when I see a line I enjoy, I really want to underline it and scribble a star next to it, but I refrain. However, if I feel the book is a "school" text in any way, I'm right in there with a pencil. (I guess the weird part is my internal distinctions between kinds of books.)

I've fine-tuned my reading marks and marginalia over the years. First, I limit myself to pencil. If I come back to the book, I want to be able to erase any markings I no longer find necessary. I underline what I find good or useful in some way. I make a vertical line along the side of the text to draw my eye to these parts. I make a little star next to parts I find especially important. I bracket words or terms I need to look up and draw a little magnifying glass in the margins. When I do look up the term, I add the meaning in brackets in the margin.

I have a really hard time reading most things without a pencil in hand. I feel compelled to mark up texts. This part of the reason I have such an especially difficult time reading on a computer screen. Typing notes or digitally highlighting text just isn't the same, for me, as actually writing on a text.

I also like to catalogue my books. I have one catalogue for my books and one for Pic's books. There isn't a perfectly clear delineation between our books, but I already started this system.

One day, far in the future, when I have more time and when we have many, many more bookcases or (better yet) built-in shelving, I'll have a better shelving system. I try now, but our books get so mixed up. We really do need a card catalogue and a system of categorization. For instance, there are times I want a bunch of books on autumn, and I might pull Nancy Elizabeth Wallace's Apples Apples Apples. However, I might also pull that when looking for books on food. Or, when looking for books by her. Or, when looking for books in which I want to specifically focus on the artwork. (By the way, I love Nancy Elizabeth Wallace's books, if for no other reason, than for perusing her artwork.)

Oh, I could so be a recluse, happy to spend my days with my books.


And, yeah, that took me longer than one minute to type. I was inspired! (And, I babble.)