Highlighting a problem (Day 302)…


I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to reading. I like to own all the books I read instead of borrowing them (I know, I know, SO not green, but it’s an irrepressible OCD thing), preferably in hardcover. I also like to use proper bookmarks, highlight all the interesting things, then underline the most interesting parts of the highlighted things.

Admittedly, this is a procedure I did more often in university, when I’d have to read 1,800-page tomes like Clarissa and write essays, tests and so on, and now there’s far less motivation to be so organized.

But I do still like to keep track of the cool facts I stumble across in The Omnivore’s Dilemma and all the fabulously erudite exposition in my Nabokov collection. So I’ve decided that, in the name of being eco-friendly, I’m going to fold the corners and possibly underline stuff, but not use anymore highlighters (or rather Hi-Liters). This will save plastic and ink, not to mention all the stress of deciding which colour to get.

Photo courtesy of I’m godmother’s photostream on Flickr

13 Responses to Highlighting a problem (Day 302)…

  1. blah says:

    Don’t do that to the pages! put little paperclips next to the interesting tidbits, or put an old receipt or something in there.

  2. Myra says:

    I agree with blah…DON’T fold the pages. There are many other ways to mark your place. Books are sacred!

    I love reading your blog and admire all the changes you’ve made. You are an inspiration. Thank you.

  3. I am a highlighting junkie. I am a super nerd and fresh out of school. Two more papers to write and then I promise- no more highlighting for me. Say hello to Miss Liberty for me.

  4. jesse says:

    When I did this (I am now a library convert after lugging books from NJ to Queens to Brooklyn) I started using lighter colored crayons. No plastic at all and you might be able to get recycled ones at this point although I feel like they do mix them all together when they melt them. A little goes a long way and they never dry out!

  5. east.west says:

    I always got hassled for underlining, highlighting, writing comments in and folding down pages of books but, to me, the best books should be a conversation between the reader and the writer. a strong response from a reader is the writer’s greatest hope, so i say fold down those pages! a well-loved book to me is not in pristine shape but shows how it’s been enjoyed by being worn down over the years because it’s been turned to again and again.

  6. just ducky says:

    I’m a firm believer in everyone figuring out what works best for them. I hold my books in very high esteem as well. I have perfected my own system and it boils down to this…

    1) I don’t like how highlighters can bleed through some pages.

    2) I don’t use crayons because they can leave little “flake” debris on the pages. Plus people get into the whole petroleum based crayon debate and then they want to order soy-based crayons…blah, blah, blah…

    3) I don’t use paper clips as it leaves indented marks on the pages…ditto for page folding…I hate it.

    4) I used to use scrap paper to mark the page but found I either had WAY too many little bits of scrap paper in my book and I couldn’t find what I wanted to fast enough or I forgot what on the page was “marked” and had to read a bunch over again and couldn’t find the reference fast enough.

    5) So what do I do? I use a pen with colored ink–preferably green or red–it must be ballpoint…no uniball or fountain pens as they bleed. And the most important part: I use a small (6 inch) ruler as a bookmark so that I can also use the ruler to make straight lines when I underline important passages. I can’t stand sloppy lines that mark through half a sentence instead of under it!

    I’m a little weird/bizarro on this whole book thing, but I’ve got my process down cold and I love it.

  7. sophielovespeanutbutter says:

    My boyfriend has converted me and my dad to bookdarts! They are little flat metal clips that you can reuse. They are great because they point to the exact line you were trying to mark.

    Check it. 🙂 http://www.bookdarts.com/

    He is in the ‘keep the book pristine’ camp and I am more of a ‘velveteen rabbit it’s not alive until you love all of its fur off’ camp as far as the treatment of books. But the bookdarts are so useful they make us both happy! 😀

  8. Sense of Balance says:

    I second sophielovespeanut butter. You can even mark a rare book if you just open a Bookdart a little wider.

  9. HoorayParade says:

    I love getting books where people have underlined or made notes in them so the fact that you are doing that makes me happy.

    and there is a site that makes me feel a little better when i by a book. even if its a used one.
    they plant a tree for every book you read for a bout $1 a book.
    i may have a lot of books that i still need to make up for but its a start.

  10. Tara says:

    Every year after the holidays are over, my kids and I cut up the cards we received and recycle them into colorful bookmarks that get used all year. I put a few on each bookshelf and in bedside drawers and everyone has a bookmark when the need one. Just look out for the really glittery ones!

    (Yes, sending cards in the first place wastes paper, but once you’ve got them, you may as well put them to use.)

  11. cynthia says:

    1. I concur with eastwest about a well loved book.
    2. Don’t give up color: use COLORED PENCILS. No plastic like a pen, or flake debris/petroleum with crayons.

  12. gettinggreen says:

    I also agree with east.west — I love a book that’s not only been read, but physically engaged with as well… I know it’s not that eco-friendly, but it sure gives it more personality 🙂

  13. Dani says:

    Coloured pencils are a good idea. But there are special pencils for highlighting made by the German company Stabilo. Check it out here: http://www.office-netshop.de/stabilo-trockentextmarker-greenlighter-gelb.html

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