How To Annotate Books

37 thoughts on “How To Annotate Books

  1. Hello, folks! I hope you find this video helpful. I've uploaded a part two, as well. You can watch that here:

  2. Hi Jen, I'm having trouble finding the SkillShare class you mentioned "How to be a super learner" I just wanted to confirm that its definitely called that??? Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I recently read an article about writing that suggested annotating books, especially favorites…I haven't done this with fiction since school, so I purchased a new paperback copy of my favorite book, Persuasion by Jane Austen, and I plan to annotate it as I reread it. This video helped me understand a little better why annotating is helpful. Thank you

  4. I absolutely love your annotations! It's very interesting, to me, to see the different paths that lead to the same place when reading.

  5. It is inspiring to watch your video about annotating. Do you annotate only physical books? Do you have any experiences with annotating on kindle/ereader?
    I used to underline a lot, in my kindle books as well as in physical books I owned, but I have stopped, because whenever I happened upon previous notes in my own books, they no longer were adequate.
    The point you make with having a pen/pencil at the ready when reading a book and getting also attention increased made me consider my current reading habits and I probably mostly read for entertainment and on an emotional, not so much on a mental/analytical level.
    And yes, you're right about that as it is with most things we do, skill develops over time ;0) Loved your sharing of your annotations, they make sense.

  6. I think it's so dumb to say you need a degree to criticise books. There were written for the general public, so it's the job of the general public to criticise them. People who say that are part of the reason why more and more people stop reading.

    I loved that you talked about the insecurities you have when starting a new book because you don't know the topics yet. That has been a major problem for me and you encouraged me to let go of that fear. Great video!

  7. Hi Jen,
    How do you keep track of all the books you read, your TBR's etc.? Do you use goodreads or perhaps a reading log-journal? Thanks:)

  8. Fascinating video, actually close to persuading me to write in books! Would save carrying a book and a notebook and sticky notes at all times. Just wondering where you did your degree?

  9. I find this very inspiring. Iโ€™ve always been one of those people who keeps their books meticulous. I really want to break this habit because I think annotating my books will make the book that much more personal

  10. My personal favorite thing is when I get a used book that already has marginalia so I can have a conversation with both the author and the previous reader.

  11. I love marking my favourite sentences or passages. I find if I use a highlighter bible highlighters work best because theyโ€™re wax and wonโ€™t bleed through the page.

  12. Do you annotate all the books you're reading or just those which you want to review? Or every book you read has a potential to be reviewed so yes, you do that to all of them? ๐Ÿ˜€
    P.S. I love annotating books too!!

  13. VERY excited about this read along! I recently read The Dumb House by John Burnside and The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley, both recommended by you and there were both STUNNING and disturbing and just marvelous reads. I'm recommending them to everyone I know (as long as recommending your channel, of course). I had Poor Things on my reading list for a while and this is the perfect opportunity to pick it up. Thank you!

  14. The first time I properly annotated a book was when I wrote my EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) on the comparison of BBC Sherlock against the books. I think I rubbed the annotations out of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and A Study in Scarlet but it was so useful!

    I might take up annotation again.
    Great video, Jen!

  15. I love annotating! I bought a bunch of post-it notes so that I can annotate my library books without damaging them

  16. Intertexuality is my favourite thing about literature /media. I especially love when I go back to re-read something and catch a reference I didn't notice the first time. …As for annotating – so glad I started doing this. Feel like I engage with books a lot more deeply now. I usually use a highlighter for quotes I want to find easily later and a pen for underlining words /phrases that I find significant.

  17. I love reading on my kindle app because it is so nice to be able to pull up all the annotations to skim and find what Iโ€™m looking for. This is great for book club.

  18. Jen, I absolutely loved this video! It's so helpful to hear and see concrete examples of annotation at work! Do you annotate everything that you read? I find that when I annotate in as much detail as you explained it takes me forever to read. I keep pausing to think. Perhaps I'm just a slow thinker. Anyway, I'm looking forward to picking up a pen(guin) for Poor Things! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. i used to be 100% keep books looking like new. now, an english lit student whoโ€™s fascinated by things like marginalia, i Have To write in all my books.

  20. I rarely annotate books, but when I do, I end up with massive amounts of notes. I had a literature seminar in college where we had to keep a commonplace book (I think that's what it was called), where we tracked 4-6 themes across every book we read in the course. That semester I did annotate in my books in pencil. This past summer I did a full reread of Harry Potter with friends and annotated my books along the way. This time I tried a separate notebook and did like that a bit better. I tend to (without meaning to) focus my notes on world-building, gender, and morality.

  21. I use a Moleskin notebook, I jot down things about the characters, themes, any quotes I love. E.g. in The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig which I've just read: "Inside a great novel, or poem, or play, there is no time, only a place of joy where readers may meet & embrace each other. To share a love of reading is to share the best love of all…there is no democracy of taste…there is only one of feeling". I also record how many books I read each month. I meant to read 4 books in January, but I actually read 9! One good book always leads straight to another!

  22. I like writing down notes about the books Iโ€™m reading for review purposes, as well as sticky tabbing my favourite passages, but as much as I love putting pen to paper, I find that I often write things into my phone, because when Iโ€™m on the go (subway, bus, walking etc.) thatโ€™s the easiest way to do it. Side note, I wrote my Uni thesis on the Gothic elements in Jane Eyre (and other works) ๐Ÿ˜…

  23. I've realized that I need to start doing this. I always think I'll remember that interesting facts or ideas but they fade so quickly!

  24. Knowing what you look for in books and what you think is important to annotate brings a whole new level of reading for me when it comes to your own work. Now I need to reread The Beginning of the World and look for all these things again.

  25. Such a cool video! I have both Winter and Poor Things I still need to read, and you've inspired me to go ahead and read them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. I love annotating book. I leave my thoughts in a separate notebook though and leave the page number. I like doing this as I adore re-reading it and comparing the two sets of notes and seeing what new things I've noticed, or how my thoughts may have changed ๐Ÿ™‚ So much fun!

  27. I've never had to annotate academically and so I've never written specifically inside a book. But recently I've been using sticky tabs to track things I want to mention in my reviews and it's been a gamechanger. Seriously, they even come on a little thing that I can use as a bookmark ๐Ÿ˜€

  28. hey there,
    loved the video, as always.. your vids really make me more confident in the judgment of what I am reading ๐Ÿ™‚
    I was planning to make a series of illustrations on poetry, lyrics and stories I love and annotating for that will be really helpful ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Jen. I have OCD but I have started annotating books as a way to challenge and fight against my OCD. My anxiety and OCD is a big issue for me. Do you ever get frustrated when writing in a book and not having the book be clean and perfect anymore? When I start I get excited about annotating but at some point I'll get caught up with obsessing over how I destroyed my book. This doesn't mean I'll stop, I find it's becoming a habit now even with my anxiety, but it is still a struggle for me to get past "destroying" a book I spent money on.

  30. i love annotating. I also love buying used books in which someone else has annotated. It is wonderful to read other people's notes – it is almost like i am buddy reading with someone .

  31. I've never annotated fiction! I annotate non-fiction a lot, highlighting or taking notes in the margins, as I find I retain the information a lot better that way. I think perhaps because it is a more interactive experience, similar to being a class setting or within a book club!

    That said, I really want to make more of an effort to do that this year. I've ordered Poor Things and plan to be really "interactive" with that reading experience.

    My question is this: do you annotate ALL books, or are there specific types of books that you feel compelled to annotate?

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