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This is a Texty Tuesdays post, looking at different types of text from the printed word to blogs to things you scribble when you’re bored.

When I’m reading, I always make sure I have a pencil in my pocket.

Of course, at the moment I’m reading the highly thrilling Pragmatics by George Yule. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in discourse analysis, but not to anyone who wants to get stuck in a good book.

I’m also reading Virginia Woolf‘s Selected Diaries.

Both books are covered in scribbles (only ever in pencil), have countless pages turned at the corner, even some sticky tabs in Pragmatics (Yes, a bit too keen, I know).

This has become a habit of mine – and clearly a habit of a few others as well.

Getting a book out of the library always results in reading the ideas of previous readers alongside the text.

Of course, this has its drawbacks. If someone’s studying the book, and scribbles “forewarning of H’s death” in the margin; there’s that plot line given away.

However, the majority of the time, it’s a beautiful thing.

If it’s textbooks and academic journals you’re reading, you can say goodbye to skim reading – especially in a University or College library. Someone else has done the hard work, you just have to find the underlined bits and read this.

Saying that, I once had someone underline all the things they disagreed with, with pseudo-intellectual comments in the margins. That was frustrating. Mostly, though, previous readers save you some leg work.

It’s fiction that I love reading the scribbled notes in the margin of, though.

Why did someone underline that word?

Why does someone think this paragraph is significant?

People pick up on things you never would, because they have had different experiences. suddenly a door is opened into the world of another, unknown reader. You almost feel like you’re friends.

While I have a problem with e-books and kindles, this is not as aggressive as many other people’s. My main problem is that I like to scribble in margins; I find it hard to think without a pencil in my hand. Most of all, I love to read books that have been read and loved, and feel the life of a book through this. An e-book can’t allow this.

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