Most recent read: The Joy Diet
Do you write in your books?
This seems to be a topic that people have strong feelings about.
First of all, I am not opposed to writing in books as a rule. I know some people who consider it to be an act of desecration. Others are willing to do it, but only in pencil. I have no such limits (except for my Bible, which has pages too thin for my beloved Pilot G-2s). I have no moral qualms with scribbling in the leaves of my current read, but the question is whether I really want to, or if I will get anything out of it.
As a student, I always had to read with a pen and/or highlighter in my hand. I didn't feel like I was studying if I didn't have a pen in my hand. Holding a pen was a signifier of assigned reading instead of pleasure reading. I would scribble all over printed articles and books alike. It was certainly helpful for study purposes, but it seemed to add something to the general reading experience as well.
When I am doing personal reading, my feelings about writing in books are mixed. For non-fiction books, I tend to lean towards reading with a writing implement. If it's a "personal development" book, I often want to note things that to remember or write my own thoughts for later. That process feels natural to me.
However, I haven't read a novel or a book of poetry with a pen or highlighter since American Literature with Dr. Lucas my senior year of college. for some books, it breaks up the rhythm of reading a compelling story. However, there is something intriguing and romantic about writing insightful and witty comments about characters and plot in the margins. I confess that the possibility of discovering penned thoughts in the margins is the one of the main attractions of used books for me (in addition to the thrifty price, of course!) Isn't there a love story about a man that falls in love with a woman because of the notes she wrote in book he's reading?
So what are your rules and habits regarding marginal notes? Do you? If so, do you have specifications for genre of book or writing implement? If not, is it because you are philosophically opposed or simple find no pleasure or use in the practice? Do tell!!