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I like the idea of making a journal out of a book I am reading but I really don't enjoy anyone else's writing in a book I am trying to read. I find it very distracting and get irritated when I come across writing in a book. I have never actually written in a book so I may have to try it some time and then see if I am able to reread the book at some point....test my patience!

Lori, the eclectic book gatherer

I've a feeling that I wouldn't get on with this book at all! Your other posting on this book, where the authors advised throwing out so many books and getting rid of them if you haven't read them in six months, was rather disturbing. Why, it could incite otherwise peaceful and placid booklovers to riot! And now this silliness about defacing all our books, treating them as if they were cheap notebooks, sounds rather dodgy; that's what blank notebooks are for. New books aren't cheap, and old ones need a gentle touch and I think they should be handled carefully. I admit I'm one of those who are very picky and will not write in them or bend or fold pages, but that doesn't lessen my enjoyment of a book, it increases it when I pick it up again and it still looks pristine.

It makes one wonder if maybe the authors are just trying to wind us up!


I love buying old secondhand books with marginalia. It's a little like joining in a conversation with the previous owner. I do admit to underlining and writing all over my text books in pencil. It keeps the thoughts there on the page. However, I seem to treat all my other books with absolute reverence. I would never, ever, dog-ear a page and I try my hardest not to get those little white lines along the spine!


I'm not sure I would get on with this book either. It's not so much that I object to writing in books it's the assumption that it is a bad thing to want one's books to be pristine. The authors seem to be making issues out of things which really aren't issues.


I don't write in my books now but I certainly did when I was a student.

I deplore the current vogue for having older books in pristine condition e.g. 'no inscriptions'. I like to see that 'Aunty Joan' gave someone a book in 1920; even better if there are two or three owners' names in a book. I have a book about the First World War (A Subaltern's War, highly recommended) which has been annotated by someone who also a soldier. He carries on a conversation with the author, which adds enormously to the interest of the book.

Dark Puss

I do not care about owners' names in a book, but I don't want to read other people's thoughts on it. I never write in my textbooks; I make my notes on them in notebooks.


No,I do not annotate books. I read a lot of second hand books and recycle those I will not re read, so I don't want to bore /irritate the next reader. I also use the library extensively and think it very rude if previous readers have made corrections and/or comments in publicly owned books.


I love to find used books with inscriptions in, especially if the books are old as I like the feeling of connections between generations but I have never written in any book otherwise and really don't approve of it.
Having just tried to save some money by buying a used copy of an Italian book for my daughter who is studying French and Italian at uni and is about to start a translation module, I wasn't best pleased to find that the previous owner had written the translations all over the pages although fortunately in pencil. I can (sort of) understand doing this if you intend to keep the book but not if you plan to sell on and I'm now going to have to spend quite some time trying to erase as much as possible!
PS the vast majority of books that I have owned from new are in almost pristine condition as I am VERY careful with them and have brought my children up to do the same.

Jenny In Edinburgh

I like my books to be pristine when I read them. It's part of the appeal of reading for me. I never keep my books once I've read them. I always pass them on, usually to my Mum, in almost pristine condition. It never occurs to me to scribble in a book. I have no reason to do so. I have lots of books but only because I love browsing in book shops and can never leave empty handed. Once I eventually read a book, it leaves my house pretty sharpish, even if it's a book I've loved reading.


As a former librarian, the idea of writing in books is appalling to me. I have however very occasionally written in pencil in my own books when studying a text, but usually make notes if needed for discussion on small post-it notes or in a notebook. Other peoples notes in books usually irritate, especially if written in green or purple ink ( often seemed to be the preference of those who add comments in library books )

Margaret @ BooksPlease

I was actually quite shocked by this. It's one thing to write what you want etc in your own books but to 'implore you to fold, crack and scribble on your books whenever the desire takes you' and all those other things is quite different. Growing up, we didn't have much money to spare to buy books and the ones we had we treated with care. Coupled with the instruction to give away any books you haven't read in six months, I can see I wouldn't get on with the writers of this book!

I would have thought books that are 'naked, faded, torn, their pages spilling out' are books that have been abused - not loved.

Christine Harding

I find pristine books a tad intimidating, but I'm a terrible book batterer (a habit I acquired before I could read!). I'd make a brilliant 'professional book handler', as described by the inimitable Flann O'Brien.

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