Journalling, sticky notes, writing in the margins? There are many ways to annotate your books and make them more personal to you. Here are some of the ways I have annotated books in the past!
The most frequent way I have annotated books is by using sticky tabs! This is the least permanent way as they come off easily and do not damage the pages, which makes it ideal for books you are borrowing from friends or the library. I’ve seen people who have an actual sticky note key and system (pink for romance, green for the plot, etc.) However, I usually am not sure what I plan to tab until reading so I tend not to go for a system and just tag moments I like – character interactions, quotes I like, or other points I think I might want to revisit later on. Sometimes I like to just reread my favourite parts of a book by going through the tabs in my copy!
Writing in books
This isn’t something I’ve done a lot, but I think there’s something so satisfying about seeing a book filled up with annotations showing how well-loved it is! The only books I have done this in are my copies of the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo. As I was reading them I could already tell they were going to be favourites of mine (plus I didn’t want to disrupt the sprayed edges) so I decided to underline quotes and write some notes in the margins.
As I reread Six of Crows in the summer, I also added to these along with putting bigger sticky notes with important plot points and names of the background characters/ gangs in the front of my copy to refer to. I decided to do this so I would be able to better understand the intricacies of the plot the second time around, and discuss it with my friends!
I usually am hesitant to write in my books in case I do end up giving them away or selling them later on, but there are a few like Six of Crows that I love and enjoy making my copies more personal. If you are looking for ways to personalize your books, try a book stamp or embosser! I actually got both for my birthday and they have been really fun to use on my favourite books in my collection, especially when I might lend them out! They both say “From the library of Victoria”. Here is what an embossed page looks like:
Another way to “write” in your books is by using small sticky notes that you can leave between the pages! This is also a cool way to annotate a book for a friend. It can be a way to highlight parts that remind you of them and make it really personal or however you like. Kayla actually did this for my birthday with a beautiful edition of The Bell Jar, and I cannot wait to read it! It feels like extra little surprises waiting for me to read inside the book. I think I might try this method more in books as it is a way to jot down a short thought while also being removable if you end up wanting to take them out, or if it’s not your book. Right now, I am reading her copy of New Moon, so I decided to leave her some notes of my thoughts throughout which I hope she finds entertaining :). Another great thing about annotations is that they can help you to organize and remember your thoughts and feelings about a book, especially if you plan to create a post when you finish. Which brings me to my next point about journaling…
If you don’t wish to write in your books, you might keep a journal where you can write the page number along with your thoughts. While I tend to sticky note most of my books, I often do this with books I have to return to the library and do not have my own copy of! I’ve also gotten into creative journaling for books which is a whole other topic, but can be a fun way to display some of your favourite quotes or even write your thoughts on the book next to images (drawings, stickers, photos, fanart) of your choice!
I don’t read eBooks a lot but when I do, one of my favourite things is the annotation function! You can easily highlight and leave comments on the text, as well as search up certain words or quotes which comes in very handy. I read the entire All For The Game trilogy in ebook format on my iPad a few years ago, and it’s cool to be able to look at the comments I left! While Goodreads allows users to do status updates for books they are currently reading, I often don’t want to constantly pause to update or include potential spoilers so those turn into more general thoughts. Another thing I’ve seen people do is share threads of the book they are currently reading on Twitter, along with screenshots of their eBook highlights etc, basically live-tweeting their reactions. I tried to do this last year with my copy of Chain of Gold, just taking pictures of my tagged quotes and adding my thoughts. It was fun, but this time when I read Chain of Iron, I might try making a reading vlog for BookTok or some other type of content (Let me know if you have anything you’d like to see!)
So it seems like my annotation style varies from book to book depending on the story, copy, and format. I know for myself, sticky notes are definitely here to stay, though I’d like to start writing and personalizing more of my own copies of books!
Please let me know what ways you annotate your books! Is there a way you think is the best? I’d love to hear them and get further ideas.