reading

notes.. or not

Only recently I have admitted to myself I develop obsessions quite easily and quite quickly… Slightly weird and regularly time-consuming obsessions (the phrase here used as a euphemism for time wasting) that luckily don’t last too long. They are, actually, thoroughness gone bad (as “I love plants I’m interested in plants I will grow them I want to know their Latin names and families I want to know everything! about them including how to cook them and make medicine and cosmetics” bad). 

Relating this to books now: usually, I do not take notes when reading literature and, at a certain point, I always regret it… Mostly because after a while (couple months, a year, or two) all I can remember about the book is its atmosphere, the beginning and general aboutness of the story and whether it’s good or bad. Yes, sadly, this happens even if it’s a great piece of literature – I’m regularly left wondering why I found it good, what did I get from it, why do I love that character, what was the story and so on… 

So, at said point, I start noting quotes, descriptions and my own thoughts on some passages and everything’s going well until! it gets out of hands and begins to deviate in one of two possible directions:

  1. as I finish the book I’m urged to write full scholar analysis on structure, characters, and style for my future self. I do some research (which consists of reading almost every review, paper, essay, literary criticism and blog post I can find), I note some of the thoughts down, I start to write, and then I remember – I really have better things to do, things that actually must be done.
  2. (this happens more often) I find myself not reading but rather hunting for thought-inspiring quotes, dialogues, and descriptions, collecting them in a notebook to think through and write essays on some time later (when I’m done collecting them all! of course).. and so they just pile up…

These are the cases when my brain brings me to despair…

I thought it was about time to try out a new approach so, while reading I drew a little flower next to the line or passage I found interesting; on the last blank page I noted page numbers where those flowers could be found and later, after I finished reading I came back to these noted sentences once again. This filtered out a couple of (at the moment) most engaging ones on which I was happy to ponder and write. While the solution is definitely not the perfect one I quite like it and think it will serve its purpose pretty well… At least until I come up with a better one…

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5 thoughts on “notes.. or not

  1. I’m the same way, Anna! When I’m interested in a subject I immerse myself in it.

    The flower idea is creative! :) I use post-it flags to mark the quotes. But I need to pick up journaling my thoughts as I read again because I’ve yet to write posts on my last two reads and it’s always helpful to have something to start off with.

  2. I do like your idiosyncracies, you have a fascinating way of doing things, my friend. I would love to do more note taking but end up writing a review as I read instead to so it is all fresh. You have a good solution, I would like to see how you draw your flowers because i am interested but mainly because I am nosy.

    1. My idiosyncrasies.. they can be quite a torment sometimes, but generally I find them enjoyable and fun.. I’ve tried reviewing, too but somehow it doesn’t work for me – they were never satisfactory the way yours are.
      Flowers are simple five-petal flowers that I’ve been drawing on everything since I was a child. Instead of typing it, I just might get a picture of a quote I’m planning to write about because I like certain kind of interested and nosy people.

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