Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Footprinting One's Books

As I stared at the ceiling of my bedroom last night, unable to be lulled to dreamland by the ever increasingly elusive sleep, I found myself pondering the notion of foot-printing books. Leaving behind personal annotations in books has been a common practice for many years and if these annotated tomes from a personal library are passed on they may either be enriching to the next reader or detrimental, causing the next reader to follow your own train of thought instead of developing their own thoughts an opinions.

I have yet to fully decide if I am a foot-printer, I find it difficult to mar the pristine pages of a crisp clean hardcover novel with what may be only the misinterpretations of the writers true meaning. I have come to rely on post-it notes in these situations..the smaller versions and flags to highlight phrases, blocks of text, or ideas I found intriguing. I still find myself unable to vandalize a book with my own personal annotations emblazoned on it's pages in my own reckless hand. It is akin to destroying a beautiful and delicate flower in my mind, though in my younger years I found myself highlighting, marking, annotating willynilly things that at the time seemed brilliant, only in retrospect to discover the naivete of my opinions and understanding of the authors meaning. Steve Leveen, CEO of Levengers, in his book The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life does make a good argument for foot-printing books, and leaving behind annotations with the impression that you will take more from it and enrich your reading experience.

Even now I still struggle with trying to decide if I want to footprint my books, leave behind marginalia. I do want to leave behind some form of annotation in my books but for now instead of marring those pristine pages I will continue to relegate my opinions to those bright yellow notes from post-it notes tucked between the pages of the current read.

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