Bookish Thought: Highlighting, Writing in the Margins, etc – Do You Do It?

Bookish Thought is a type of discussion post where I talk about anything book related and of course leave it open for you all to respond :) These posts will be published on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of every month

There seems to be a few different groups that I’ve encountered throughout my life as a reader. Those that would never write or highlight in a book other than a textbook, there are those that are fine with it, and there are the people who do it to their own copies. This is something that I’ve been curious about for some time now – especially since I got more into book blogging. I’ve learned about a lot of aspects to reading and books that are important to other readers and book bloggers.

So I thought who better to pose this question to?

When I read a few of my books for my Classic Books Reading Challenge a couple years ago, there were a few books that I would circle words that I was insure about – in pencil. I never personally got into writing further thoughts or questions in the margins of certain books. I definitely would never highlight in a book that wasn’t a textbook. I definitely would not do any of these things in a book that I did not own.

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this.

Do you actively highlight, circle, or write in the margins of books you own – that are not textbooks or for studying for a class?

If you don’t do it, do you think it’s harmless or harmful? If you do, what do you benefit from it?


15 thoughts on “Bookish Thought: Highlighting, Writing in the Margins, etc – Do You Do It?

  1. I hate writing in books personally. I try to use post it’s when I can. And the few times I’ve had to really analyze a book for school, I bought a cheap edition to mark up. Seems kind of crazy, but I need at least one clean copy haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to know! I have yet to succumb to the possible need of getting an ereader. And you make a good point about the fact that once you buy a book, it’s yours. Thanks for sharing! :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m team writing in books (only my own copies of course). I like to look back on good quotes and/or remember how I felt about certain passages. It makes re-reading more interesting. I also very much enjoy reading books that other people have annotated, it feels as if I’m reading the book and discovering their experience of it at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been wanting to find an easy way for me to keep track of quotes and/or passages that I like when reading since they aren’t always on Goodreads. I never gave much thought to annotated versions (maybe because many books I’ve been reading don’t have them), but I will definitely keep them in mind when I go back to reading literary classics. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t, but I would like to find a way to mark passages to go back to or highlight. I always think of putting a sticky note in the book, but then I think that over the years the glue will pull off the ink on the pages, so I’m hesitant to do so! I did write in books in university, but they were usually academic copies of books, so nothing I’d want to keep on my shelf and showcase anyways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • hmm, I never thought about that for post its. I guess you could always write on a piece of paper and then paper clip to the page? It’s hard when you want to preserve the book as much as possible!


  4. I’m strongly against writing in books, well in my books. I don’t like other people’s thoughts interrupting my reading because if there is writing in the book, I’ll sometimes stop and get caught up in whatever the previous reader wrote. However, I love highlighting stuff. I even highlight world pages sometimes if I love the writing so much that I need to make sure I can easily find the passage again. That can also interfere with other readers’ reading, but I only highlight my own books. I also highlight unfamiliar words. When I’m done reading, I go through and record what I highlighted in a document of some kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I’d be okay with pencil in books, but only if their my thoughts – but even then I could get distracted. I used to circle in pencil words that I didn’t know. Thanks for sharing! :)


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