A habit that I’ve picked up recently is annotating personal copies of books that I’m reading by writing criticisms, underlining brilliant passages, or writing in the margins about things I like or relate to.
I used to be a person who wouldn’t dream of desecrating any of my precious books in any such way, but I’ve come to find value in making my reading experiences more thoughtful and personal.
A deeper reading experience
By making it a point to write something in my books while reading, I am forced to think actively while doing so.
What I’ve found is that, on top of reflecting more deeply on what I read, my focus increases dramatically. Long-gone are the days of daydreaming while “reading” and having to painfully re-read two pages of the book.
Something that motivated me to begin annotating my books is the thought of what it might feel like to re-read a book of mine 10 years from now. It would be surreal to look back in time at what my 19-year-old-self took away from a book.
“Hmmm… I thought that passage was great back then, but it’s actually a pile of crap, I can see now…”
One in a million
Most of all, I am in love with the idea of a book becoming my book, a one-in-a-million copy that will never be replicated with the same thoughts, ideas, and notes in its pages.
The possibilities are amusing. Imagine becoming famous one day and having all these books that you’ve personally annotated. I mean, how much do you think people would pay for a copy of Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime annotated by Barack Obama?