I’ve never been one to take notes in books. I have cracked spines and dog-eared pages, but putting a mark in a book? Nope. I find notes in books distracting and am actively irritated when I’ve taken one out from the library and discover that someone else has written in it. Buying used textbooks in college was a necessity but I disliked having someone else’s notes in the margins of my book. I just find it distracting – I can sort of see the appeal in seeing someone else’s thought process at work, and the obvious historical potential for marginalia, but I find that they get in the way of my own thoughts.
Since I don’t write in books themselves, I’ve seldom actually taken notes. Strangely, though, this weekend I had an urge to actually write some things down. I often start composing reviews in my head as I read, but if it takes me too long to actually sit down and write the review, I forget what I meant to say. As I get further behind on reviews, this gets more and more irritating, and I find myself putting off reviews because I don’t remember what I wanted to talk about in a particular book. So, in lieu of writing in my actual books, I have purchased a nice little notebook and for the first time have my very own reading journal. I am planning on noting down whatever comes to mind as I go along and, hopefully, using the results to make my reviews easier to write and more interesting to read.
Do you take notes while reading, whether in your books or in a notebook? Does it make it easier to write reviews?