Saturday, March 2, 2019

Scribbles in the Scroll

I was looking over some fellow book blogs and seen a quote where a few reviewers state they’ve started damaging books.  And when they state this they are not referring to book burning or tearing books apart but rather making the book their own to the point it is no longer in pristine condition.

I will admit I found this interesting as they state they've just 'started'. 

Likely, prior to recently, their books were in excellent condition, with no dog eared pages, cracked spines or sullied covers.

If you've read my blog a while, you know, I purchase vintage books. On a daily basis I pick up a book I have here and look inside and find copious amount of expressions made by the person or persons who owned the book before I purchased it.

Perhaps they had an English teacher that taught at the end of each chapter you must write bullet points summarizing what you’ve read, reminding them to pick up the book after a week and write personal notes on the inside of the book along with a page number so later they can copy their excerpts. 

A while back I interviewed author Birgitta Hjalmarson about the subject of scribbling and this is what she had to say.

I loved how you write of Anna reading Nietzsche and scribbling in the margins. Do you believe many readers study stories this way?

My mentor, Helga Wall, was an inveterate scribbler. Yes, she was an editor, and a tough one at that, but her scribblings were different. She was no longer an editor but a reader, her comments directed not to the author but to herself. Reading is much like writing, just as demanding in many respects. At first, we need the author’s guidance, signposts as to who and when and where, but then it shifts and we become creators too, making connections, remembering, anticipating. 

Scribblings, I think, are proof of that. We’ve all come across used books where readers have left marks in the margins, notes-to-self as it were, reminders, sudden insights, protests, and questions. As distracting as those scribbles can be, I can’t wholly condemn them. Perhaps some of it is our need to be remembered, sort of like those rune stones from the Viking Age, someone saying, “I wrote this. I was here.”

So the next time you open a book with physical qualities like scribbles you may want to consider the emotional experience the reader had in tackling this same read you have in your hand.

Scribbles in the Scroll is a good lesson to us all in encouraging shared memories as it allows us the opportunity to connect to a soul from the past.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say, I love finding notes like that in books. At times, the notes have made me laugh; some offer insight; some are just random scribblings, like phone numbers, which always pique my curiosity. It's part of the reason why I enjoy used books so much!