I have been M.I.A. lately, but not because I haven't been reading. I've just gotten picky with my reading choices. I gave The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang more than 250 pages before I came to the conclusion that I was bored by the book. Part 1 of the book was pretty good, but I felt like Part 2 was a completely different story. Life is too short to read books I'm just not into. I finished Autoboyography by Christina Lauren, which I liked but weeks passed and I forgot to write a review.
I had a birthday recently, and of course what does any bookworm do with birthday money? You spend it wisely on practical things like bills. Right? Just kidding, I bought more books.
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Pebbles
Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
Mirage by Somaiya Daud
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I'm going through a thriller and fantasy phase these days. But I'm not sure when I'll get to these. :) Having too many books is a good problem in my opinion.
Here is my current reading pile and the subject of my latest blog post!
I'm currently reading The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter, The Power by Naomi Alderman, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Educated by Tara Westover, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling.
I often read more than one book at a time because I just like to have choices. Sometimes I'm in the mood for one book over the other. However reading so many books at once comes with challenges. The main challenge is my memory.
When I started this blog, eight years ago, I used to take notes on each book. I would keep a legal pad nearby while I read so I could jot down key plot points, quotes, and my overall thoughts. In the beginning I liked doing that because it helped me remember the book, especially when it came time to write a review. But eventually I got tired of the legal pad. I read a lot more when I started this blog, 75 books on average a year, and jotting down notes began to feel like homework. I hate homework! So I abandoned the legal pad.
Fast forward to the end of 2016, and I started to think I needed to go back to taking notes. Remembering what I read wasn't coming so easy. But I wasn't quite sure of the method I should be taking. Well the question was answered for me with the company Christmas gift -- a moleskine notebook. I took it as a sign. As part of my reading goals for 2017, I kept a reading journal for a full year. Same principle as the legal pad, except it was much smaller and easier to carry around.
As 2017 came to a close and my notebook was almost out of pages, I started thinking about what I should do for 2018. I did buy another journal, but it wasn't quite what I thought it was. Some of those pictures on Amazon.com are deceiving. I bought a notebook thinking it was small but it turned out to be much larger than I wanted. I read a lot during my commute to and from work, pulling out a large notebook every couple of minutes gets to be a bit annoying. I didn't want to stop taking notes, but I kept thinking I need a different approach.
What does one do when they need ideas? Google it! And then eventually go on YouTube! And that is how Operation Annotation began! I went down the YouTube rabbit hole, watching video after video on annotating books. Everyone has a different method. Index cards, post-it flags, highlighters, pens, color-coding, and so much more. Some people actually (GASP) WRITE IN THEIR BOOKS!! At the start of this venture I was very much against writing in my books, I mean that's BLASPHEMY! I had already been annotating my books by using a reading journal, but taking it further has been a mixed bag for me.
But . . . I found the post-its I was using to be too big. I bought the wide ones (right) first. I was trying to convince myself these were the right ones. . . and they weren't. They were too clunky. Then I bought the skinnier post-its. The size was better but even those I didn't like. Yes, I'm picky about post-its too! So yeah I abandoned those and just stuck with the index cards.
I still felt like I could be doing more with my reading. So I went down the YouTube rabbit hole again. I watched some of the same videos again! Especially the ones where people described writing in their books. I'm just so against book abuse. Yes I once considered writing in books to be abuse! Notice I said "once considered." Because . . . I have gone to the dark side. . .
I WROTE IN MY BOOK!! Above is a page in my copy of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. And I haven't stopped there . . .
Here's a page from my copy of The Power. I finally found the right mix for me . . .
I even found the right combination of pens, highlighters, and post-its. A fine point pen, a Sharpie, and small post-it flags finally made me feel ok about (GASP) WRITING IN MY BOOKS. Now, I'm not writing in all my books or even taking notes on every book. I haven't felt the need to take notes on Harry Potter because I just want to experience the books naturally. This is my first time reading the books and I just want explore Potter Mania without notes. Maybe on a second read, I'll consider it. :)
I'm actually liking this form of annotation. I'm even thinking, "I need a special pencil case for this!" In reality it gets to be a little cumbersome digging in my backpack for a post-it on the subway, so yeah a pencil case is in my near future!