Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wordy Wednesday: Mine to Scribble In

I'm reading Howard's End is on the Landing.  I got it via Inter Library Loan because my library doesn't have it.  I'm starting to think it's a book I'd like to copy whole - I want all the book lists she recommends, even with her dislove of Jane Austen.  I'm enjoying the book greatly, and there are some beautifully wrought passages ... but they make sense mostly in context, so I had to choose a later passage; but that works because I find it very true! 

But my books are mine to scribble in. When I first went to university, I had to own some textbooks because they were needed for a long, intensive period but the price of new textbooks being then, as now, prohibitive, I did what everyone did and bought second-hand from final-year students advertising them on the college noticeboards. Bythe time I had my Anglo-Saxon Primer, my Beowulfand Ancrene Wisse and Sir Gawain, Middle English verse and prose, and Robinson's edition of Chaucer, they had gone through many generations of King's college undergarduates and the margins were thick with annotations, stanzas underlined and double-underlined.  It was a badge of honour to own a book in which there were more pencilled annotations and comments and footnotes than lines of printed text ...I did not see a pristine, un-annotated textbook outside a library for my three years as a student, and the habit of making notes in the margin was formed for life. I scribble, underline, note, add, cross out, put in exclamation marks, turn down corners -- even sometimes jot down phone numbers and PINs, and reminders to buy cat food. Not in every book --some pass through me undigested, bought, read, passed on. There is nothing in them worth noting or underlining.

Perhaps the idea that books are sacred and should never be marked or otherwise sullied goes back to the time when each one had to be hand-copied by a scribe ...
If I owned this book, it would be full of annotations; as it is there are corners folded down for me to add places into my commonplace book because I'm too greedy to read to spend the time to write passages as I come across them.

Linked to Wednesdays with Words at Ordo-Amoris. Join us with a quote from your current read!



8 comments:

  1. Fantastic words! I'm a book scribbler too.

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    1. Me too! My husband is a little appalled by the practice.

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  2. I'm curious as to what books she recommends & why she doesn't like Jane Austen.

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    1. I put some answers to this in my <a href="http://ladydusk.blogspot.com/2014/02/book-review-howards-end-is-on-landing.html>book review</a>.

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  3. So far I have enjoyed every Susan Hill I have read and I had not heard of her until this year. Her murder mysteries are well-written also. This book seems to have mixed reviews but I was one who loved it.

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    1. Cindy, I loved it too. Are her other books murder mysteries or are they thrillers? I like the one but not the other ... I'm hoping it's the former.

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  4. The is one thing that has made transitioning to using a Kindle kind of hard for me - not being able to scribble. I do lots of scribbling in notebooks, though. :)

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    1. I agree, although being able to have portions underlined show up online is a nice touch. Copy/paste is better than typing sometimes :)

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