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TSS: Taking Notes

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?

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12 comments to TSS: Taking Notes

  • I’m with you on notes already being in books that I’m reading (i.e., library books, etc.) I bought a book at a library sale a few years back and, just a few weeks ago, picked it up to read the first chapter or so. I wanted to determine if it was making the cut of those I was packing for the move. Unbeknowst to me, there were notes on every page and several sentences on each page highlighted.

    It went into the “to be donated” pile immediately.
    Melissa´s last post …The Sunday Salon

  • Here is my version of the Sunday Salon: Suddenly Sunday

    That is a great question! As I read a book, I’m constantly thinking of how I will review it. And although I rarely take notes, there are those few occasions when I will write down a phrase or two that really captures the essence of the book, one that I know I’ll forget after I’m done reading. These notes are usually written down on an index card and placed within the book. Does this make the review easier to write? Yes. Not having to try and remember all the points, and getting frustrated when I can’t remember that perfect wording I came up with, is always good.

  • I have been taking notes in spiral notebooks on what I read since the beginning of blogging–4 years ago. It does help immensely when I get ready to post a review. It also helps me to concentrate on what I’m reading and it helps my brain better retain why I read.
    I love to look back at my reading journals and see what I’d read and how I felt about the book, etc.
    Taking notes was easy for me, I love to write!
    Annette´s last post …April is National Poetry Month

  • I take notes as I read – helps me when I have to review since my reviews are usually several days after I finish a book. I used to jot down in a spiral notebook initially, but over time, I found it inconvenient to lug it around, esp since now I read books everywhere and in any format. It’s hard when you want to write down a point and the book is not around. Since I go to the library a lot, I collect all those receipts and keep one of those in every book I’m reading now, including one in my handbag for “travel-reading”. Once I’ve reviewed that book, I just dump that receipt in the recycle bin.

    I absolutely hate writing in books, esp in library books. Every time, I see that someone has written in a library book, I feel like screaming “Dork, there’s a reason this is a library book and not the your property!”
    Aths´s last post …The Sunday Salon Something for Harry Potter fans and A Thread of Sky lovers

  • I do take notes as I read a book – but I can’t bring myself to write in books.I suppose in my life I have done it a few times but I find writing my notes in a separate book journal, although a bit more time consuming, works better for me. I write the name and author of the book and try to add page numbers when I make a note – things to follow up on or historical research to do – perhaps a word that strikes my fancy and I want to know the etymological background. I like having the book journal to go back to. Helps me remember what I’ve read sometimes too ! Arkkkk ! I’ve been pleased a time or two as well that I did not mark up a book because then I can give it to someone and they can enjoy it without my personal note baggage being in it !
    Marie´s last post …My New Favorite Mixed Media Tool

  • I would never write in a book – my elementary school librarian drilled that into my head. I don’t take notes while I read, but I really should.

  • I love marginalia. I wish second hand books stores had a section just for books with notes written in them. Those I’d buy. I’ve no trouble ignoring them as I read, so I can go back and check them out after I’m done with a chapter or two.

    I only write in books I’m reading for a class, which is very rare these days. I’m rereading Great Expectations right now, a copy I used in college twice so it has two sets of marginalia in it. It’s interesting to see what my thoughts were the first time around. I’m pleased to see how insightful I was at times and taken about at how big a yutz I could be.

    As far as blogging goes, I keep a draft of each post where I put any notes I need to keep. I delete the notes as I write up my post.

  • I like to find notes in my book (as long as they’re not, y’know gross or something, for example I don’t want to find anti-feminist notes, whereas I do enjoy finding notes correcting anti-feminist statements). However I can never quite bring myself to write in books. Note taking is so useful though, but usually I forget to do it past noting page numbers.It does make it easier to write back reviews (she says looking at her undocumented to review pile with fear).

  • I really need to take notes while I am reading too. I have the same issue; when I get around to writing a review, I have forgotten what I wanted to focus on!
    Stephanie´s last post …Sunday Salon- 4-17-2011

  • Yes, actually I usually take notes via Goodreads on books that I’m reading for fun. With books from the library that I’m going to use for a research paper, well… I know this will annoy you, but I always write in them! It just helps me remember what I thought about a particular passage. My notes are pretty restrained, though: I usually just block out the section of text I think is important with a pencil.

    Speaking of notes in library books, I think it’s fascinating what other people choose to take note of! I ran across some marginalia this weekend while I was working on a paper, and to me it seemed like it was utterly random.

  • I NEVER write in books, personal or otherwise. As for note taking, it depends on the book. Mysteries or romance books for me don’t require in-depth reviews; although there are always exceptions. I try to jot notes down of things I would like to remember to write about in my review. Some books have a quote or phrase I want to incorporate, but it just kind of depends. I guess I’m flippant about it.
    Jennygirl´s last post …Suddenly Sunday April 17

  • Amy

    I don’t take notes, for the most part, but I will write down thoughts and stick them in the book if something is funny, disturbing, wrong, etc. or if it’s really just something I want to talk about in my review. I don’t like to write in books especially library books so this sort of system works as long as I remember to remove the notes in the end.
    Amy´s last post …Teaser Tuesdays – A Clash of Kings