Let’s Talk Bookish: To Annotate or Not to Annotate…

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky @Eternity Books and hosted by Aria @Book Nook Bits, and it’s where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! If you want to join, check out the April 2022 prompts and May 2022 prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks us about:

TO ANNOTATE OR NOT TO ANNOTATE…

(SUGGESTED BY ARIA @ BOOK NOOK BITS)
Prompts: that is the question*. Do you like annotating books? If so, how do you annotate them? Is there a difference for you between ebooks, physical books, and audiobooks? If you’ve ever had to annotate books in school, does this affect your willingness to annotate the books you read for fun? What are some downsides to annotating books in your opinion?

ANNOTATING BOOKS: YEA OR NAY?

Until this year, the most annotating that I’ve ever done was highlighting favourite passages on my Kindle and occasionally writing a few notes with my thoughts/reactions. I never really considered annotating my physical books until I saw this post by Sumedha @The Wordy Habitat on how to annotate books when you’re reading for fun. I’ve always been curious when I see people annotating their books but I never thought it was something I wanted to do until I read Sumedha’s post and now I’m so glad that I’ve done it!

I’ve since developed a love of using sticky tabs to annotate and while I don’t take the task too seriously, I’ve come to realise how helpful it is to have these tabs to look back on when I write my reviews. I really shouldn’t be surprised about this fact so I don’t know why I am! 😂 I have to admit that I’m more partial to annotating physical books simply because I love using sticky tabs (is that sad and do I really care if it is? No, it just is lol 🤪)!

ANNOTATING EBOOKS VS PHYSICAL BOOKS

The main difference when I annotate ebooks and physical books is that my ebook annotations are usually much simpler. Unless I read on the Kindle app via mobile or browser, Kindle doesn’t show the different highlight colours so everything that I highlight is essentially clumped together in my notes section. For that reason, I tend to write more notes with each highlight when I’m reading on my Kindle than I do if I annotate physical books. When I read physical books I mostly use transparent sticky tabs to mark various elements that I want to remember—mostly focusing on themes, world-building, important plot points/events, romance (if any) and gripping quotes. I have written notes in books (in pencil!) but I still don’t do it often and for some reason, I still haven’t taken to writing on sticky notes and placing them in books either. If something really strikes me as an *important thought* I usually open up my Notes app and jot it down but again, I don’t do that often. This means that I rely on the sticky tabs to remember the good/important bits and considering how horrible my memory is, I’m somewhat surprised that it actually works. But since it does, I’m not particularly keen to change my method.

ARE THERE DOWNSIDES TO ANNOTATING?

I wouldn’t say that there are really many downsides but I’m also not thinking overly much about it! 😂 One that quickly comes to mind is that if you write in your books they probably won’t be as easy to sell as most(?) people tend to want “pristine” books rather than well-loved ones with writing and other things in it. Obviously, it’s not everyone because I personally have enjoyed finding annotations in my book(s) as I love to see what others think/feel about it and whether it’s the same as me.

Perhaps another downside is becoming too focused on annotating and losing the enjoyment of the read. There have been points during certain reads where I realised I became so focused on wondering what I should mark that I actually stopped myself from becoming immersed in the story. Thankfully, I didn’t get too far into these reads before I realised what I was doing, after which I told myself to chill and just mark whatever I feel like, even if that means tabbing huge chunks of the book because at least then I’d actually have the chance to enjoy the read since I’m annotating for fun anyway!

Do you annotate your reads or is it not for you? If you do, do you annotate your ebooks, physical books and audiobooks differently? (Also, very curious how you annotate audiobooks if you do it!) Do you think there are downsides to annotating?

25 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: To Annotate or Not to Annotate…

    • Ooh, that sounds like so much fun?! Did you take turns reading the book and then pass it to the next person? I would love to try doing this at some point (if I ever live close enough to someone to buddy read with them haha otherwise it’d take months to send internationally 🤣)!

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  1. I usually keep a notes tab open on my phone to save my thoughts on. Sometimes I’ll take pics with a note to refer to the pic if there’s a large quote or something I want to remember. I love getting books that other people have annotated, though. And sticky notes are always fun! LOL!

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    • I use the notes app on my phone as well. It’s easiest when I don’t have anything else on hand to write my thoughts down with and when I don’t want to write in my physical book! I actually took pics of quotes in a book for the first time the other day 😂 I should do this more often! Haha

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  2. It’s this year that I started getting into tabbing my books, and you’re absolutely right they help A LOT in writing my reviews. The only time I find myself writing annotations (ONLY in pencil, I can’t imagine jotting it down with my ink pen 🙈) is in historical non-fiction books. I’m terrible in remembering dates and names but I love history *sigh* the irony.

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    • Yay for starting to annotate this year! I’m glad that I started this year too 😊 I think I’ve only written in two books with pen but I know that they’re quite easy to replace if ever I want a clean copy but otherwise, definitely pencil all the way! 😂 I totally relate about having a terrible memory for dates/names but at least you’ve found a way to keep tabs on that if ever you want to go back to reading these books in the future!

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    • Haha, I totally get what you mean about being lazy. With physical books I do tend to stick with tabs but if I do have something I really want to remember or have *thoughts* about, I’ll quickly open a note on my phone lol but it’s rare!

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    • Yes, I’ve started doing that quite a bit with the fantasies I read (when I have the physical copies) and there’s just something SO SATISFYING when I see all the tabs when I get to the end 🤣 I realised it also helps me with foreshadowing and keeping track of world-building too. So handy!

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    • I think I particularly enjoy it when I annotate while reading fantasy because there are so many elements to keep track of! For romances, I love keeping tabs of my favourite quotes or swoony moments. I hope you enjoy annotating if you do try it out! 😃

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  3. I also started out with annotating books only on my kindle; having the ability to highlight passages and add notes makes it pretty easy and simple. I’ve only annotated a couple of physical books that I’ve read, and although it is fun, and I do like using sticky tabs, it does take away from the reading experience more than I would like. As for audiobooks, most of the platforms that I listen to them on have the feature where I’m able to bookmark specific parts, and add notes to those. I do that sometimes, when I have a particularly strong opinion on a part of a book, but I rarely go back and reread my notes on audiobooks! Great post!!

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    • I find that it depends on which book I’m reading but for certain fantasies I’ve found that I focus so much on looking out for things to tab that it takes me too far out of the reading experience. I still do enjoy it though and maybe it’ll get less distracting over time as we keep annotating physical books! And thank you for sharing how you annotate audiobooks! I don’t listen to them very often but I never paid attention to how I could mark sections or make notes on the app. That’s awesome and I’ll be sure to remember that the next time I listen to an audio! 😃

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      • Annotating definitely can pull you out of a really immersive book, so that’s definitely a main con. I hope you have fun with annotating audiobooks if you try that out; it’s a feature that I only learned about relatively recently, and it’s super fun!!

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