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digital marginalia?

An article in the NYT Sunday magazine has me thinking about the way our students write in books.  Girls, you really write in your books.  You Highlight, you underline, you make elaborate notes in the margins until the whole book is covered with your notes.

I never got into this habit.  Maybe because I didn’t buy my own books in high school– they belonged to the school and we had to give them back to be used again next year by the next class.  Even in college when I bought my own books, I always wanted to sell them back at the end of the semester so I didn’t take notes in the margins.  Maybe it is my inner librarian, but I sometimes flinch at the sight of a heavily marked up text.

Sam Anderson in the NYT is looking forward to the day when he can read a book on a digital reader and also read the marginalia of his friends or of other writers or critics.  He sees this as a bridge between the private act of reading and the social act of sharing your notes and thoughts.  I personally see reading as a refuge from the noise of daily life, which may be why even though I love to read, I don’t much like to talk about books in a deep way.  My English teacher friends don’t understand this, but as soon as someone starts analyzing a book that I love, I suddenly need to make a break for it.

I can see the use in social reading though, and I think sharing marginalia would be a very cool thing, just maybe not for me.

What do you think?  Would you like to share margin notes with your friends?

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