This week’s BTT is something we’ve covered a while ago, but I’ll throw it out there again. For those who were baffled last week, apologies for the incorrect hyperlink on ‘Booking Through Thursday’ – just pop along to www.btt2.wordpress.com. Every week they pose a bookish question for those of us who have run out of inspiration by Thursday, and then I encourage all of you to ponder it yourself. This week:
…how many of us write notes in our books. Are you a Footprint Leaver or a Preservationist?
Well, we came across this perilous question in my review of Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris, I think, which can be read here. And you may remember that I am VEHEMENTLY against writing in books, or defacing them in any manner. The library trainees recently went on a training session about boxes and foam pads (it’s like a rollercoaster, I tell you) which included the speaker tearing pages out of a book as a shock tactic. Although the book was destined to be thrown away anyhow, it was still painful… an actual physical pain, running through my body, and quite a loud involuntary gasp. Shared, I’m proud to say, by those either side of me. Anyway – books are not notebooks, they should be treated with dignity.
Having said that…. this is where the hypocrisy comes in. My name is Simon and I am a Footprint Leaver. Very occasionally. Though a repeat offender, I must confess. The worst instance is my Collected Works of Shakespeare – reading this, while being shaken around on Filipino Jeepneys, I had to scrawl notes (always in pencil, mind) or remember nothing when I started writing essays months later. Nor could I keep a notebook – the quotations would take an age to write out, and while I could jag a line on a rickety journey, legible writing was beyond my capability. What is amusing is the type of notes I make in the books, when not simply underlining. I write things, for the most part, not as analysis, but pointers. I.e. when I later write an essay on a certain topic, I’ll be able to locate all the relevant passages. Which leads to such erudite pronouncements as ‘death’ alongside deaths, or ‘time’ by the use of the word ‘time’. As Our Vicar’s Wife’s teacher used to say – “If you are the cream of the intelligentsia, Heaven help the skimmed milk”.
Howsabout yourself? I promise I won’t shout if you perennially leave footprints…