To Annotate or Not to Annotate…

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits and Dani @ Literary Lion where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Do you like annotating books? If so, how do you annotate them?

I am newer to the concept of annotating my books. I have fallen in love with reading a book physically while also listening to the audiobook at the same time, and I feel as though I take in information so much better this way. Something about that experience makes me want to annotate more! I think that it has helped me become a more insightful reader.

I started annotating just using the same sticky tabs that I used in university (you know the ones!), but something about that made reading feel too academic. I was looking for something different and I saw that these more aesthetic tabs were becoming popular on Bookstagram. I thought that these were perfect and it is going to be fun to match the colours of my annotations to the colours of the book. I can also write on this, which is amazing because I am not quite at the point where I want to actually write in my books. They are out for delivery as I write this and it was $10 for 800.

My annotating strategy is ever-evolving and it very much depends on the book, especially in terms of genre. I find that fantasy requires more annotating and more categories. I like to use different colours for world-building, character development, memorable lines, etc. It is very subjective! I find this helpful when I go to write a review or if I am going to talk about a book on YouTube.

Is there a difference for you between ebooks, physical books, and audiobooks?

Definitely! I do use the highlight feature on my Kindle but there is really no rhyme or reason to it. I mostly just highlight quotes that I like. I don’t think I have ever when back through an ebook and looked at my highlights, but I am newer to ebooks and that could definitely change as I used it more!

I know that a lot of audiobook apps have a feature where you can add bookmarks, but it is not something I ever do! I have started keeping a notebook handy for when I am listening to an audiobook and not following along with the physical copy. I scribble notes to myself of things that I want to remember.

If you’ve ever had to annotate books in school, does this affect your willingness to annotate the books you read for fun?

I probably should have annotated books in high school but I never did. I was definitely more of a “fly by the seat of your pants”-type student. I would read the books we were assigned (most of the time!) but I rarely enjoyed the experience and I remember feeling like I just wanted to get through it. In university, you might be surprised to know that I only took one English course. It was a lot of Shakespeare and I remember annotating and analyzing his work to death! I also remember highlighting all of my textbooks back then, but there was really no rhyme or reason to it. I have to say, I was not a great studier. I think there should be a course offered to high school students that teaches them how to study effectively. It is not a skill that I ever learned.

I don’t think that this experience affected my willingness to annotate the books I read for fun. Honestly, I was not reading for fun at all during those years, and the idea of annotating is not something I even considered until recently.

What are some downsides to annotating books in your opinion?

There are definitely downsides to annotating. It can be time-consuming, and it has the potential to take some of the joy out of reading. I am still figuring out what works best for me, and I have realized that some books just don’t need to be annotated. I don’t always want to mess with the flow of my reading, and I have found this to be especially true with romance!

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17 thoughts on “To Annotate or Not to Annotate…

  1. I actually bought some tabs just to try this out! I’m thinking about what sort of thing I want to tab and I think i want to start with quotes x

  2. Those tabs are so pretty! I don’t annotate fiction books at all. But, I do annotate non fiction books.

  3. Great post! I totally agree with everything you’ve said. I wish that Kindle was in colour so you can see the different highlight colours that they have on the app but my highlights/notes for ebooks are definitely less organised than with physical books. I find it more enjoyable to annotate with certain genres too and only very rarely annotate romance reads—if I do romances then it’d simply be for fave quotes/swoony scenes 🥰 Your post has sent me on a sticky tab buying spree now! Haha, I love it!

  4. Over the years I’ve gotten used to annotating books and I’d love to try it more often on my current reads but the biggest thing is how time consuming it is. Loved learning more about your annotating Kristin, lovely post!

  5. Annotating books can definitely be time consuming, and I’ve found that sometimes it’s too much of a distraction for me. Other times though, it can add to the reading experience, so it really does depend! And it also is so helpful for me to look back on notes when I’m writing a review of a book. Great post 🥰

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