Why Do People Write in Books That Don’t Belong to Them?

When I buy new books in the bookstore, I always select a pristine copy but I don’t expect the same from second-hand books, books purchased at a fund raiser or the ones you sign out of the library.

I know people who won’t go to the library because they are grossed out by the thought of other people thumbing through the pages. If I let my imagination run, I can see why some people may get wigged out but don’t they know people thumb through books at the bookstore as well? That this pristine-ness is illusory?

But I digress- somewhat.

It makes me crazy when other people turn down the corners or write in the books- especially in pen. I start to wonder if I am missing something because I did not find a passage particularly enlightening….

That says a lot more about me than it does them, I think.

I am very easily distracted by the highlighted passages, underlines, scrawls in the margins, sticky notes…. And why do people bother highlighting when they highlight EVERYTHING?

I can’t help but go over what someone else found interesting enough to deface a book. I don’t have a problem with people who mark their own books but why would you do that to a book that one theoretically has to return? I will make notes on stickies and use that as the marker. I even have special brass book marks to highlight longer passages that won’t mark the pages like paper clips will. I don’t use them often but I love them- so practical and refined.

If someone has to mark up a book within every inch of its inanimate life, get your own copy or photocopy the sheets you want and highlight those. Or how about this- buy the book.

My rant is not going to stop people from defacing public property. That would be nice but I’m a realist.

I am just going to have to suck it up and deal since I don’t have any room in my house for more books. I would have to get rid of some first- which is akin to cutting off a limb or poking out an eye. I will get there eventually but it is a process for me.

At least these defacers don’t rip out pages or cut out select information from a book. That is infinitely worse- here is a special place in hell for people who destroy books.

With that, I need to return some books and pick up more I have on hold.


~ by angryegg on October 13, 2010.

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