Good morning, bookpups🐾 Today we’re talking about how to annotate your books while you read (essentially, taking notes). While many readers have their own system of doing this, I’ll be sharing my way with you. So grab a good book, a cup of coffee (or tea!), some sticky notes, and let’s get started!
QOTD: Do you take notes while you read?
I never used to take notes while reading a book, until I started my first book blog. Even then, my notes were sporadic. Now, I find it necessary to write a proper review (one that’s longer than a couple sentences).
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Books pictured: The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night and Exile by Shannon Messenger
I recently read a blog post by Bianca @ Your Words My Ink about annotating books (and I will admit I needed to Google “annotate” to find out what it meant 🤦♀️) While I don’t write in my books (it’s one line I just haven’t been able to cross yet), I have a very chaotic/methodical way of annotating my books (taking notes).
When I first started book blogging three years ago (YIKES!), I had never heard of professional readers. I thought book blogging meant receiving a free book, letting the author know whether or not you enjoyed it, and writing a quick 2-3 sentence review on your blog (a free WordPress site, of course! Who needs self-hosting? What is self-hosting?) Oh, younger and more naive Megan, you had so much to learn!
Since then, much has changed. We switched to self-hosting about two years ago and have never looked back. (Disclaimer: Bookstacks & Golden Moms is self-hosted through SiteGround and we absolutely love their service!) I’ve also been forced to re-evaluate how I read in order to provide the best possible review for the authors who rely on us.
What does this mean for annotating?
Sticky Notes: A Professional Reader’s Best Friend
Some readers write notes directly into the books they’re reading.
I choose to use sticky notes. They’re perfect for capturing tidbits in a book that I don’t want to forget, making it infinitely easier when it comes time to review. And, as Crystal and I have started reading a few of the same books, I can easily take my sticky notes out before lending her a paperback, therefore making sure I don’t spoil any surprises for her. Oh yes, because some of my notes get very … colorful. Especially when characters make insanely stupid decisions (and we all know they do!).
I use three different types of sticky notes right now: a multi-pack of the mini tabs, 1×3 inch tabs (these are a little bit larger), and the basic 3×3 inch square notepads. Of course, there are many other types … these are just the ones I have found that work best for me.
My Method for Annotating As I Read
As I said earlier, there is no one-size-fits-all method for taking notes. This is just the system that has worked for me.
The logical way to use sticky notes would be color-coding different things, such as: quotes, characters or places you want to remember, mushy-gushy romance, and other such items.
This isn’t how I do it. Hey, I said this was my system … I never said it was logical.
I use the smallest tabs to mark quotes or characters/places that I need to remember (for my reviews). The larger tabs are for quick 1-4 word comments, and the square notepads are for longer (usually more colorful) comments that I feel inclined to make while reading. These come in very handy when it comes time to review and I need to remember the anger, sadness, or other emotions I felt while reading. As for the colors … I just like color. If I find that a book is getting to be too yellow, I’ll pick up a pink tab. Normally, I’ll use anywhere from 2-4 colors per book … just for fun and because it makes me happy 😃 That’s what reading’s supposed to do, right?