I read a lot (and I write about it, too! Mostly about Harry Potter, though, so don’t bother if that’s not your thang) and I am a staunch advocate of writing in books. I underline, I make notes, sometimes I just marvel at a particularly interesting sentence (or a particularly sassy piece of dialogue). As the girls get older, I find myself thinking about my collection of books – and the notes contained within – in terms of something that they’ll eventually get into, find, read, and form opinions on – with or without my permission (assuming they’re like me. I read Firestarter when I was 8, stolen off my mom’s bookshelf), and it’s changing the way I interact with my collection.
First of all, I’m suddenly seized with the desire to buy books that will mean something for my children – not just fantasy series and fiction to provide an escape from the world, but real literature and essays and theorists that will help them understand the world they’re looking to escape. I want my girls to be well-read, and educated, and to learn to think for themselves, and I want my bookshelves to be a place for that to begin happening. Suddenly, when I’m buying books, I’m no longer buying them just for my own enjoyment (or for book club!) but for the joy of seeing my children find them one day.
Secondly, I’m trying to be more conscious of the notes that I’m taking. I tend to take the most notes when I’m drinking while reading, and while I certainly stand by those notes and often find them fun (or useful!) when re reading, I’m suddenly mindful of the fact that they may not be just for me. Before, when I was marking up a book, it was for my own use, to remind me of my first impressions of something or note a connection I wanted to make (in class, or later, on my blog). Now, I’m mindful of the idea that the girls will probably one day read my notes, and I want to make sure those notes are worthy of them.
Also, I’m going to need a bigger bookshelf for them to rummage through.