favorite lines/quotes from books

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Do you underline, highlight, or in some way mark your favorite lines?

yes - easier to find them later
23
5%
yes - I usually mark books when I read so marking favorite lines is just part of the deal
19
4%
no - writing in a book is desecrating a book
318
62%
no - I don't usually find passages that I find worth marking
11
2%
sometimes - only if it's really good
66
13%
otter
73
14%
 
Total votes: 510

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kcr
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favorite lines/quotes from books

Postby kcr » Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:32 am UTC

There have got to be other people who read a passage or a few lines and just have to sort of pause because of how great it is. Right?

I'll start things off, I guess. These aren't necessarily my favorite quotes of all time, just what I have on the computer for some reason or another.
Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close wrote:Our fathers came out of the house and stood at the door, on of them asked, "What are we going to do?" I knew that our time together was almost over, I asked her if she liked sports, she asked me if I liked chess, I asked her if she liked fallen trees, she went home with her father, the center of me followed her, but I was left with the shell of me, I needed to see her again, I couldn't explain my need to myself, and that's why it was such a beautiful need, there's nothing wrong with not understanding yourself.


John Green, Looking for Alaska wrote:"Then she said, 'Let's play Truth or Dare' and then you fucked her."
"Wait, you fucked her? In front of the Colonel?"
"I didn't fuck her."
"Calm down, guys. It's a euphemism."
"For what?"
"Kissing."
-----------
"Hold on. I just did some calculations, and I've been able to determine that you're full of shit."

^this is with "he said" and other narration removed but that passage is pretty much all dialog anyway.

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief wrote:It’s just a small story really, about, among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery....
---------
A last note from your narrator: I am haunted by humans.


John Knowles, A Separate Peace wrote:"I'm important, bastard."

Yeah, I really didn't care about this book too much, but it's a damn good line. <3 Leper.

And because it's timely..
JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows wrote:"NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!"


And I have tons more, but the books aren't on hand and I'm lazy.

Poll -- I was curious because normally I despise writing in books, but on a rare occasion I'll underline a line I love. But there are conditions.. it can't be a huge paragraph, the book has to be a paperback, and the line has to be really damn freaking good. (er, I tried to be varied with the poll options but I guess if I missed something that someone wants added, could a mod add it?)

So.. post your favorite meaningful bits or the best one liners or whatever.

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Postby Æshættr » Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:11 am UTC

I can't think of any off hand, but there were some parts in Wheel of Time that made me stop reading and laugh. The same goes for Diane Duane's Young Wizards series. I don't ever write in my books, usually I just remember about what chapter my favorite quotes are in.

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Postby Chase » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:08 am UTC

I don't have a good head for quotes.

When a book is good enough to have memorable quotes, I can't stop myself from reading long enough to write anything! A couple times I've written down a quote later, but now I can't remember or find them. Luckily, for a few days after I've read a book, I can usually flip right back to a page where I read something. I think my hands remember the the thickness of each side of the book.
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Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:24 am UTC

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

First sentence of the epic Dark Tower series by Stephen King.
"It's Saturday night. I've got no date, a two-liter of Shasta, and my all-Rush mixtape. Let's rock!"
"I am just about to be brilliant!"
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Postby SecondTalon » Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:13 pm UTC

Everything in this book may be wrong or something to that effect..

Illusions, Richard Bach.

I should break that out again, it's been a few years.
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Postby Phenriz » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:28 pm UTC

NEVER EVER WRITE IN A BOOK THAT'S NOT MEANT FOR WRITING IN!


if i need to go back to a quote, i usually note the page number in my head (because i almost always avoid page numbers when i'm just reading anyway so me looking at the page number sticks out in my mind)
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Postby Hammer » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:33 pm UTC

"Chicago came on slowly, like a migraine."
American Gods, Neil Gaiman
"What's wrong with you mathematicians? Cake is never a problem."

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Postby SecondTalon » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:36 pm UTC

I just realized my own semi-hypocracy of sorts.

I consider writing in a book to be in bad taste. However, I consider food stains on the pages to be marks of enjoyment.

Hmm...
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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Postby Narsil » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:54 pm UTC

Mr. Wednesday, in an excerpt from American Gods by Neil Gaiman wrote:"The finest line of poetry ever uttered in the history of this whole damn country was said by Canada Bill Jones in 1853, in Baton Rouge, while he was being robbed blind in a game of faro. George Devol, who was, like Canada Bill, not a man who was averse to fleecing the odd sucker, drew Bill aside asked him if he couldn't see that the game was crooked. And Canada Bill sighed, and shrugged his shoulders, and said 'I know. But it's the only game in town.' And he went back to the game."



Pretty much sums up life right there.
Spoiler:
EsotericWombat wrote:MORE JUNK THAN YOUR BODY HAS ROOM FOR

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Oh... that.

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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:04 pm UTC

no - writing in a book is desecrating a book ..... 64%

That makes me so happy.... :) I rarely remember them, so I'll often re-read a book just to find the lines (so many good ones in Rage). Or, if I'm near my laptop, I'll write them down in one of the many, many text files I've got there.

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Postby PatrickRsGhost » Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:30 pm UTC

The only book one should write anything in is one in which words have not yet been written.

The only exemption, of course, is text books. You may highlight, underline, circle, put little smiley faces next to, mark out, whatever you want certain passages that may be pertinent to your course of study.

If I find a passage I like in a book I have read, I might copy it down elsewhere, either on paper, or somewhere on the interwebs in a sig or profile, of course giving credit where credit is due. In my Yahoo and MSN profiles, I used to have (not sure if I still do) a quote from one of the many Calvin and Hobbes books, about how weirder things are when you think about them more.

Calvin wrote:The more you think about things, the weirder they seem. Take for instance this milk. Why do we drink cow's milk? Who was the first guy who first looked at a cow and said "I think I'll drink whatever comes out of these things when I squeeze 'em!"?


Not exactly word-for-word, but pretty damn close according to my memory.
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Postby Zohar » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:21 pm UTC

I never write in my books. I have a friend who doesn't use a bookmark, he just folds the pages. I don't get that.
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Postby Vaniver » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:25 pm UTC

I can't bring myself to write in books, but I really need to start using something so I can find the awesome quotes better. (post-it notes? Editing the wikiquotes entry and just searching that?)
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Postby PatrickRsGhost » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:27 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:I never write in my books. I have a friend who doesn't use a bookmark, he just folds the pages. I don't get that.


Using a bookmark of any kind, be it a "real" bookmark made of thick paper, or a scrap of regular paper, can actually do more harm than good to the book. Mainly, it can break the spine. Folding a corner of a page, or "dog-earing", doesn't really harm the book, except just the corner of the page. As long as it's within the margin of the page, and doesn't fold over any text, you won't have a problem.
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Postby Narsil » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:30 pm UTC

I *like* my books worn. I'm not planning on ever selling them, so I don't mind them looking read. And what the hell do you have to use as a bookmark to damage the book? A cinderblock?
Spoiler:
EsotericWombat wrote:MORE JUNK THAN YOUR BODY HAS ROOM FOR

Mother Superior wrote:What's he got that I dont?
*sees Narsil's sig*
Oh... that.

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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:32 pm UTC

Narsil wrote:I *like* my books worn. I'm not planning on ever selling them, so I don't mind them looking read. And what the hell do you have to use as a bookmark to damage the book? A cinderblock?

I used a soldering iron... bad idea :( Turns out it goes all the way up to 451 Farenheit.

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Postby PatrickRsGhost » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:51 pm UTC

Narsil wrote:I *like* my books worn. I'm not planning on ever selling them, so I don't mind them looking read. And what the hell do you have to use as a bookmark to damage the book? A cinderblock?


I think what happens is you end up breaking the spine in several places. I like my books worn too. That shows how well-loved they are. I remember hearing something about using bookmarks long time ago, but I forget what exactly it was that was so bad about using them. So, in reference to my previous post...

[citation needed.]
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Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 02, 2007 8:28 pm UTC

First of all, fuck the lot of you who say writing in a book is desecrating it. No, it shows you're reading it and paying attention. A completely clean (but clearly oft-read) book often looks to me like every person who read it went through it too quickly to think about much of what's written therein.

I don't usually do it with fiction (never, really), but lots of my nonfiction has underlines and marginal notes in it, including a great deal of stuff I read before I got to college and found that doing this can actually help me write papers and such.
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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Thu Aug 02, 2007 8:32 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:First of all, fuck the lot of you who say writing in a book is desecrating it. No, it shows you're reading it and paying attention. A completely clean (but clearly oft-read) book often looks to me like every person who read it went through it too quickly to think about much of what's written therein.
.

But the important thing is, you're not over-reacting. I rather think we're talking about fiction here... I've written in every textbook I've ever owned.

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Postby semicolon » Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:57 am UTC

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows wrote:All was well.

Nah, not really.
H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu wrote:The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange wrote:What's it going to be then, eh?

Basically the entire book, actually.
Vladimir Nabakov, Lolita wrote:Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for fancy prose style. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.

Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey wrote:"My God, it's full of stars!"

The very first sentence of the book, too. Something like, "For every man stands a thousand ghosts, for that is the number by which the dead outnumber the living." But, despite no less than five minutes Googling, I can't find the exact quote. I thought I had an etext version of it somewhere on my computer, but I guess not.

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Postby PatrickRsGhost » Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:40 am UTC

I'd probably mark up a book if I find a passage I truly like. One pet peeve of my mom's was something my grandma did. If she found a small grammar or spelling error, she would correct it as if she was marking up a student's paper. I don't think she was bad enough to really mark it up. Sometimes the misspelling was intentional, or the bad grammar. Sometimes it was something not caught by an editor due to being pressed for time.
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Postby liza » Fri Aug 03, 2007 8:38 am UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:I used a soldering iron... bad idea :( Turns out it goes all the way up to 451 Farenheit.


I just wanted to commend you an excellent post :D Hilarious + Bradbury = instawin!

PatrickRsGhost wrote:The only book one should write anything in is one in which words have not yet been written.

The only exemption, of course, is text books. You may highlight, underline, circle, put little smiley faces next to, mark out, whatever you want certain passages that may be pertinent to your course of study.

If I find a passage I like in a book I have read, I might copy it down elsewhere, either on paper, or somewhere on the interwebs in a sig or profile, of course giving credit where credit is due. In my Yahoo and MSN profiles, I used to have (not sure if I still do) a quote from one of the many Calvin and Hobbes books, about how weirder things are when you think about them more.

Calvin wrote:The more you think about things, the weirder they seem. Take for instance this milk. Why do we drink cow's milk? Who was the first guy who first looked at a cow and said "I think I'll drink whatever comes out of these things when I squeeze 'em!"?


Not exactly word-for-word, but pretty damn close according to my memory.


Ditto, on all accounts. Writing in... textbooks? Yes. Fiction? No.
I copy down quotes I love (though I copy them down in a notebook I do not currently have, so no quotes for you!).
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Postby evilbeanfiend » Fri Aug 03, 2007 8:45 am UTC

if i want to find a quote i like then i usually rely on someone else from the internets also liking it and posting it somewhere googlable.
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Postby Clockwork » Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:31 am UTC

semicolon wrote:The very first sentence of the book, too. Something like, "For every man stands a thousand ghosts, for that is the number by which the dead outnumber the living." But, despite no less than five minutes Googling, I can't find the exact quote. I thought I had an etext version of it somewhere on my computer, but I guess not.


It was

"Behind every man now alive stand 30 ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living."

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Postby semicolon » Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:29 am UTC

Ah. I was only 970 off. Thanks.

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Postby Narsil » Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:26 am UTC

Actually you were about six trillion off.
Spoiler:
EsotericWombat wrote:MORE JUNK THAN YOUR BODY HAS ROOM FOR

Mother Superior wrote:What's he got that I dont?
*sees Narsil's sig*
Oh... that.

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Postby SecondTalon » Sat Aug 04, 2007 12:25 pm UTC

And that's over ni-

No, I can't do it. Fuck that. I'mma gonna go hang myself now. Tootles!
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Postby Castaway » Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:29 am UTC

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You've just lost twenty dollars and my self respect.

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Postby Pebbles » Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:17 am UTC

wow, im pretty suprised.. 33 people dont like writing in books. I thought itd be much less than that.

ive got no problem writing in my books. I dont write in books i borrow from the library or friends or anything. But my own books I do whatever I want to. I dont use highlighters to mark things except for textbooks though. Having a bright pink section in a book would annoy me when I went to reread it. I just pencil underline stuff and make small notes in the margins if I want to.

Just to stimulate discussion, why do people have a problem with writing in their own books?
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Postby OmenPigeon » Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:53 am UTC

I love writing in books because I love reading the things that other people wrote in books.

I have a great weakness for for used books. I love how used book stores (the good ones, at least) stack them all together in the loosest sort of categories, and there's rarely the same book more than once. And the shelves are taller than I am, and placed too close together, so it's awkward to pass someone else browsing, but you get surrounded by books towering over you and you can spin around in place and see nothing but spines. Spines are distilled potential.

I love the color of old paper. It doesn't reflect light as brightly as new paper, so I can read it in the sun better. Sometime in the past ten or fifteen years publishers stopped making books the right size for back pockets. Used book stores still carry books that fit my bum.

And I really, really love the notes other people wrote in books before I got them. I have an old copy of Metamagical Themas with a previous owner's notes in it. It's one of the best things I own. I love when theres some random line underlined that wouldn't have struck me as special, except that it clearly struck someone else as being the best thing on the page.

So I write in my books because I like to think that theres other people out there who like reading other people's margins as much as I do, and maybe my books will get to them. It's like passing notes in class.
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Postby Pebbles » Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:52 am UTC

OmenPigeon wrote:I love writing in books because I love reading the things that other people wrote in books.

And I really, really love the notes other people wrote in books before I got them. I have an old copy of Metamagical Themas with a previous owner's notes in it. It's one of the best things I own. I love when theres some random line underlined that wouldn't have struck me as special, except that it clearly struck someone else as being the best thing on the page.

So I write in my books because I like to think that theres other people out there who like reading other people's margins as much as I do, and maybe my books will get to them. It's like passing notes in class.


I completely agree. It never even occured to me to do it until I got my first book from a second hand bookshop. Which was actually Douglas Adams Dirk Gentleys Holistic Detective Agency. Stuff was underlined and notes were made about some of the stuff mentioned. It was great. I dont do it to all my books, but the ones I love have underlined passages and sometimes just random sentences I liked the sound of.
Also, second hand book shops are magical places
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Postby Malice » Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:33 am UTC

Bah. Writing in books is desecration!

I don't even write in textbooks (unless they're math textbooks).

"Might a magician kill a man by magic?"
"A magician might; but a gentleman never could."
-paraphrased, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

"That saying, how you always hurt the one you love, well, it works both ways."
-Fight Club

Actually, Fight Club is almost nothing but awesome quotes. I think the author bio on the book jacket isn't worth repeating, but that's about it.

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Postby Pebbles » Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:41 am UTC

haha agreed Fight Club is ALL quotes. But they are good quotes. My favourite from fight club is at the end...
"We just are and what happens, just happens. And God says, no thats not right. Yeah. Well whatever. You cant teach God anything"
She only looked away for a moment, and the mask slipped, and you fell. All your tomorrows start here.

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Postby schumi_girl » Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:48 am UTC

I like/use too much the quote from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:

"Always with the tone of surprise."

Love it.


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Postby liza » Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:27 am UTC

So, I don't have a notebook full of quotes with me, but I do have a handful of books with me.

Dostoevsky, in Crime and Punishment, wrote:Here we have bookish dreams, a heart unhinged by theories.

Though probably pretty clear in and of itself, it speaks of how we can let intellectualism get in the way of the things we know in our hearts (really, a primary theme in the book).
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Postby Malice » Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:52 am UTC

There's a rather excellent passage in Brett Easton Ellis's novel, "The Rules of Attraction", towards the end, which I can never remember and never find online. I don't own the book, but I've read it twice and always loved the passage, whose general meaning is: Everybody's problems might not compare (kid who doesn't like broccoli versus kid who doesn't have food, for example), but for all that they are still problems and they still matter to that person and so they should still be taken seriously.

Anyways, he says it better than I can (and less directly), and it bothers me frequently because there are a lot of times when I'd like to use it. Only it's never there.

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Postby PatrickRsGhost » Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:55 am UTC

Pebbles wrote:
OmenPigeon wrote:I love writing in books because I love reading the things that other people wrote in books.

And I really, really love the notes other people wrote in books before I got them. I have an old copy of Metamagical Themas with a previous owner's notes in it. It's one of the best things I own. I love when theres some random line underlined that wouldn't have struck me as special, except that it clearly struck someone else as being the best thing on the page.

So I write in my books because I like to think that theres other people out there who like reading other people's margins as much as I do, and maybe my books will get to them. It's like passing notes in class.


I completely agree. It never even occured to me to do it until I got my first book from a second hand bookshop. Which was actually Douglas Adams Dirk Gentleys Holistic Detective Agency. Stuff was underlined and notes were made about some of the stuff mentioned. It was great. I dont do it to all my books, but the ones I love have underlined passages and sometimes just random sentences I liked the sound of.
Also, second hand book shops are magical places


Yep. There's one on the other side of the railroad tracks from my house. I think I will pay them a visit this weekend.

When we were cleaning out my great-granddad's house back in the summer of 1997, I found countless old books throughout the house. My dad wanted to get rid of them all, since they were probably moth-eaten, some of the pages may be missing, etc. I told him there was no way in hell a single book was to leave that house before either I or my mom went through them. I grabbed a tomato box that was in the house, and began going over every single bookcase in the house. There were at least 6. All different sizes. All antique. One had glass doors. Damn my parents for selling that one.

Any way, one of the bookcases has a series titled "World's Greatest Literature." It was a collection of reprints of some well-known books, like Irving's "Sketch Book", Poe's "Tales of Mystery and Imagination", "Ivanhoe", and a few others. One of the books I chose was a book of Shakespeare's more well-known plays. What made this book full of win and awesome was my grandma marked up the play "Hamlet." She had made a few small notes in the margins, including a brief one- or two-sentence explanation about one of the soliloquies in the play. What really would have helped was if she had marked up "Macbeth," which we read in 12th grade English.

I think that's why one of my top favorite Harry Potter books is the sixth one - Half-Blood Prince. In it, Harry ends up having to borrow a school copy of the required textbook for Potions, since he didn't buy his own, thinking he no longer had to take the class. He discovers the previous owner had made all kinds of notes in the margins, including extra steps needed to brew a specific potion that the original author of the book left out. He begins to really love the book as he flips through it, discovering other little hints, notes, extra spells, etc. He orders a new copy, and swaps the covers on them. He returns the new book, with the old cover, to the Potions teacher, and keeps the marked-up copy, with the new cover.
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Postby bbctol » Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:25 pm UTC

Just before voting, I made a personal vow that if anyone said tat writing in books was a crime, I'd personally hunt them down and stab them with a pen.

This is going to take longer than I thought.

I've written in nearly every book I own. Here's one from a dog-eared page in the closest book to my computer:

"On a long enough timeline, everyone's survival rate drops to zero."
-Fight Club

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Postby Jauss » Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:16 pm UTC

Æshættr wrote:I can't think of any off hand, but there were some parts in Wheel of Time that made me stop reading and laugh. The same goes for Diane Duane's Young Wizards series. I don't ever write in my books, usually I just remember about what chapter my favorite quotes are in.


Whoa. You're one of the only people I've come across that's read the Young Wizard series. I love those books. Well, the ones that I have anyway, all of which I got from my cool aunt when I was 13 going on 14. (The omnibus Support Your Local Wizard, which contains So You Want To Be A Wizard, Deep Wizardry, and High Wizardry, and then also A Wizard Abroad.)

I read the one with Nita's mom being sick once (in a bookstore IIRC) and didn't like it as much. I haven't checked if there have been others. *Checks* Good God, there's a bunch more! Hmm. I also have The Book of Night with Moon and To Visit the Queen with the cats as protagonists. (There's more of those too!) So much love. I also got my favorite idea of religion/spirituality from those books. Man, I first read them a bit over a decade ago. :) I've read them so many times, but it's been a while since the last time and I should do that soon...

Anyways, with a few exceptions back in the day, I don't write in books. I'm not horribly against other people writing in their own books, but I'd rather not. (Note: I'm taking about fiction. Non-fiction is allowed, but hopefully not entirely marked unless the comments are good. :))

I used to dog-ear pages with great quotes when I was younger, but now I generally either write it in a notebook (I always have one or two in my backpack and the backpack is usually in my vicinity) or if I'm online (as I often am) I'll just save it on my computer.
"Four out of five dentists prefer asses to hearts." - The Mighty Thesaurus

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Postby notyouravgjoel » Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:21 pm UTC

I mark up my books according to Mortimer Adler's method from How to Read a Book. I mark up almost every book that I own, simply because I only buy it if it is worth marking. If I don't think it is very valuable knowledge, I just grab it from the library.


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