I have seen numerous videos of people talking about how they annotate books and I thought that this would be a really great post for my blog! I just really wanted to start a discussion about annotating books and why (or why not) you do!For a very long time I thought that annotating books was sacrilegious. I hated even dog earring pages and it physically pained me when my books got damaged!! I still cry a bit inside when my books get damaged and I still never dog ear pages but I’ve come very far with my ability to write in my books. Paper Towns by John Green was the first book I ever wrote in for fun and I’ve written in countless school books to use for papers and projects.The books that I’ve annotated most recently have been nonfiction books. I find it really helpful for keeping track of stuff in my self-help books when I highlight and take notes within the book. I used to try and journal outside of the book along with what was in the book but unless it’s a library book I’ve stopped doing that because I never reread my journals.Recently I decided to annotate my Throne of Glass series as I reread it because I want to do a review of the series at the end of it… I was going to do a post comparing that series to my all time favorite book Graceling by Kristin Cashore but have since decided that Graceling will get it’s own post because I have much to say about it! The reason I decided to go in big on annotating Throne of Glass is because I know that they’re books that I will never loan to anyone.The not loaning books out to people anymore is actually a big reason why I’ve decided that I’m going to start annotating books. I always feel anxious about writing in books because “what are other people going to think when they see this?” and honestly? Now I really don’t care. I’m going to annotate books that I know I’ll keep, or books that I really want to analyze and when/if I get rid of them then someone else gets to see what I thought was important in that book.I think that I put too much pressure on myself about keeping books in pristine condition. Books are not meant to just sit on a shelf and look pretty (though they do look really nice and pretty on shelves) in fact, my favorite books are the ones that are completely beat up and barely holding themselves together.Now that I’ve decided that it’s okay to annotate I also feel this pressure about annotating every book I read. So now I have to tell myself that it’s okay to not annotate a book if I don’t want to! I think a lot of my annotating is going to occur with books that I’ve already read. Once I have an entire set of hardcover Harry Potter books I want to annotate that entire series (going to save the paperback ones just as keepsakes).With a number of the videos that people have published talking about annotating books I find it interesting what they use as a system. I’ll include links to some of the videos that I’ve watched at the end of this post! From what I’ve seen, most people have pretty similar systems for what they decide to tab and I kind of liked that.This is the system that I’m using for the Throne of Glass series:For nonfiction books I really just highlight and write in the margins and then put a sticky tab in there. No differences in colors for those unless I run out of the tab that I used at the beginning of the book.I think I’ll use around the same type of system as with Throne of Glass for other books but I think I’ll change certain categories around depending on the book.Now I’d like to open it up to everyone reading this. What’s your opinion on annotating books? When you get rid of annotated books do you get anxious or laugh at the idea of someone reading your notes and trying to decipher what you saw in that book?If you take notes when you read, do you take notes in the book or out of it? Do you annotate your e-books? I never annotate e-books!! I used to highlight quotes but I almost never reread e-books and have just stopped annotating them at all.Here are the videos that I watched before deciding to make this post:
So I finally sat down to read Save the Date by Morgan Matson. I’m going to preface this post by saying that Morgan Matson is one of my all time favorite authors and I will read absolutely anything that she comes out with. I also used to be quite obsessed with her Top 8 series the she wrote under the alias Katie Finn.
Warning you now that this post will contain minor spoilers for Morgan Matson’s books.
I’ve read every single one of her books multiple times (except Second Chance Summer, because 1. It makes me sob and 2. I don’t have a physical copy of it) and until reading Save the Date I never realized that there was a common theme in her books that now really bugs me.
In almost every single one of these books, the main character is a high school student (I think every single one is said to be 17) and the love interest is in college. As I was reading STD (yes, I am going to refer to it as that for the rest of this post, sorry!!) I kind of figured that Jesse was going to be a scumbag, it just made sense that Charlie had to have her little crush shattered by the person she thought was her “dream guy”. It made me so uncomfortable that Jesse is a sophomore in college and he’s trying to have a casual hook-up relationship not only with his best friend’s sister but also a high schooler.
Matson’s main characters are all romanced and a few are even implied to have lost their virginities to these college boys. To me this just screams inappropriate. I get that a lot of these are very innocent, I mean apart from scumbag Jesse, the farthest Charlie goes with a guy is a kiss on the cheek from Bill at the end of STD. There’s also a whole lot of underage drinking and other shenanigans… Like in The Unexpected Everything Andie was almost caught drinking at the age of 14, yep FOURTEEN! And okay, maybe I did spend my entire high school career reading books and staying up too late scrolling through Tumblr and taking too many AP classes but I still feel like 14 is really young to be out partying.
When I first read Matson’s books I was in high school and I never thought anything of an age difference or even a lifestyle difference but now that I’m older and have gone off to college and just been in the “real world” for a while I can’t even begin to imagine wanting to date a high schooler. Now I do think it’s different when someone continues to date a younger boyfriend/girlfriend when they leave for college but I also don’t feel comfortable with people who do things like date a freshman when they’re a senior. And yes, most of the characters are just finishing up their first years of school (or in Clark’s case, not in school at all) but that’s a whole year of being an adult and they’re deciding to be with high schoolers.
And you know what, maybe I’m crazy in developing this dislike for the pairings that are developed in these books but I just feel like no one who has moved past high school should be dating someone who is still 17. I’m in no way condemning Matson’s books, but I also don’t want impressionable young girls to read these books and fall for the Jesse’s because it’s “cool” or “exciting” to be in love with a college guy. Trust me, young girls reading this, college guys aren’t that great… Honestly, most guys aren’t that great. Read your books and wait to find someone who actually cares about you!
On a similar note, I also have never found myself interested in books where college students fall for their professors. I just think it’s a storyline that doesn’t make sense. There’s a power difference there that makes me uncomfortable and I don’t really think that there needs to be as many stories involving this storyline as there are.
As I’m working through Morgan Matson’s books again this spring, as I tend to do, I have to wonder how many other odd tropes I’ve just looked over in books before. Like I mentioned in my Rereading Old Favorites post I have to take a step back from a good chunk of my old favorites just because there are so many issues in them now that I completely brushed over in the past.
I really do like Matson’s books but I do hope that girls don’t romanticize dating an older boy because of the couples that she creates. When I was first reading her books it never occurred to me that this could even be an issue, I didn’t know any older boys and honestly I know that not a single one would’ve looked my way anyways. But I know that there are other girls out there that would and still will catch the attention of older men and I genuinely worry. I know that high school relationships can be awkward but that doesn’t mean that we have to glorify dating older people because they’re “mature” and “experienced”.
All in all, I don’t want to just brush this off but at the same time I have to wonder just how influential these relationships might be… I mean, maybe I’m reading too much into things and it means nothing. But I just got that nagging thought after reading STD and had to sit down to write about it.
Do any of you have thoughts on this? Or know of other YA books that have this trope? I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head but I’m sure there are others out there.
I have a whole shelf on my bookshelf of books that I once held extremely near and dear to my heart. These books had a huge impact on my “youth” and they’re ones that I won’t be able to part with any time soon. Though some of these books have stood the test of time, there are many that make me cringe when I reread them.
I will say though that I don’t look at old middle grade novels in the same way that I do some of the old young adult novels that I read. I feel like to now critically look at a middle grade novel just doesn’t make sense, of course the characters come across as immature and naive and the plots are incredibly basic, middle grade is a whole other level of thinking and comprehension. I am obviously no longer the target audience! However, if any of you would be interested in me going back and critically looking at old middle grade books I would love to do a post like that… (This is me saying that I’m probably going to do this even if no one comments on this post about that particular topic).
On a “spiritual” level, I still love books like Twilight and those dystopian novels that were published really early on in that craze, but I also wouldn’t list them on my favorite books list right now. Even books I’ve read recently that I was obsessed with tend to have something fundamentally wrong with them and I have to look past that in order to read them with the same joy I had when I first read them.
Now I think that moving forward and reading new stories and learning new things will always teach a person to think more critically about things that they used to like… Or at least I think that’s what we all hope for people and ourselves as we learn new things. Books that we read in the past are super important to who we become as adults and I think it’s important to be able to talk about the books that we loved then and even if they don’t stand the test of time they can still mean something to us.
It’s too easy to be embarrassed about favorite books and want to hide our old or even current reading tastes because we may like problematic stories or stories that haven’t aged well or even stories that once seemed so mature and amazing that now have just lost their touch. I don’t think that we should be quick to condemn things we once loved because they aren’t “good” today. I think we should discuss and call out things that haven’t stood the test of time and be inspired to read better books and tell new stories.
I was just inspired to write this post from seeing people rereading Twilight recently and also from writing my Books That Shaped Me post. I think it’s funny to see how immature and bad some of my old favorite books are compared to some of the books I’ve been reading more recently. It’s just interesting to see how things change over time!
Do you guys have any books that you feel embarrassed to say that you still love?