I am a book junkie. I have an account on Goodreads.com. I am organized by nature. But although I love the idea of it, I have had a hard time keeping track of my books on Goodreads. I entered a whole slew of them in the beginning but haven’t been interested in keeping track after that. I like to see what other people read but that’s about as far as it goes.
Instead, I find that I like keeping track of my books in composition journals instead. I’m a margin-writer and underliner. I love to mark up my books – whether they are novels or works of non-fiction – I appreciate a good turn-of-phrase or a particular line that speaks to me. Maybe I find similarities in the author’s words to my own life. Maybe what they write just makes me laugh or helps me remember a distant memory. Whatever the reason, I keep a pencil handy when I read so I can underline a paragraph or phrase or write a note to myself in the margin. Then I take each part I have marked and rewrite it in my current composition book called “Book Quotes.”
This series of journals probably tells more about me and what I think about, who I am and what I want to become than any other one thing in my space. I find great joy in going back through the quotes I have listed or copied and pasted from my favorite books. Even when I reread a book I find new insights and words that I hadn’t noticed before so I’ll list them in my journal and label it as a second or third reading of that book. True, this handwritten accounting of my books is rudimentary at best. Certainly not as efficient as cataloging everything on Goodreads.com. But I like it. It brings me joy to recopy each phrase in my own hand. My book journals are a trusted and dear friend to me so I think I’ll just stick with them.
He was not an unhappy man. Far from it. He was a man of strong emotions, and he enjoyed life hugely. (pg. 275)
Those are the kinds of things I underline. I love the phrase “he enjoyed life hugely” and I want to be known as a person like that. One of my favorite books written by Sandra Dallas is The Persian Pickle Club because of its witty, southern style with a flair for drama that heads the story in directions you don’t expect. The Chile Queen had the same vibe for me and a great summer read. That is, if you’re not opposed to quirky novels set in a whorehouse during the 1800s. Take a look at Sandra Dallas and fall in love with her down-home way with words. Then let me know what you think. I love sharing a good read with friends!
And while we’re talking books, consider reading Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper before you see the movie. It could be one of the most thought-provoking books I have read because of her amazing writing style as well as the topic she addresses. I kept thinking, “What would I do if I were their mother?”