Annotating Books: The Joy Of Revisiting A Favorite Book

Annotating is something I view differently now. I’ve been an avid reader since about, 2012 and in my early years of reading, if you were to ask me if I annotate my books I would’ve been in shock thinking “how could I intentionally write & highlight in my books??”

It wasn’t until late last year however, that I’d thought more about the idea of annotating and why its something that can bring so much more to the reading experience. It all started when I was watching one of my favorite booktubers, Hannah from a A Clockwork Reader’s video: The Guilty Reader Tag!

She answered the question “Have I Ever Dog-Eared A Book?” and went on to discuss how not only does she dog-ear books, but she also has multiple copies of her favorite book to annotate + mark up!

From that very moment, it just clicked for me! And since then, I’ve been browsing used bookstores, finding cheap book deals online, etc. to collect second copies of my favorite books to annotate them!

Because a majority of the books I read came from the library, I obviously couldn’t annotate it, so now as I continue to read new books from my library, I keep a notebook beside me as I read to keep quotes and passages in mind to go back and annotate later when I buy a copy!

As I’ve started a mini collection of the books I plan to go back to and annotate I’ve thought more about why it not only brings more to the reading experience, but to me as a reader!

Though I’ve only annotated 2–3 books so far, with each book I find myself thinking more about why annotation matters & how it means something different for each book!

The highlight of a favorite quote, the dog-ear of a page, the mark of a memorable moment or character with a sticky note or tab, or maybe the inclusion of a comment on a passage, hastily written in pen.

All of these are reminders that annotating allows me to not only to reflect on why I loved a certain book, but essentially why I love to read!

Now, I’ll be sharing a small list of the reasons why/how I personally annotate my books & what they mean for me as a reader!

  1. Highlighting: I usually try to find a variety of different colors!

Highlighting for me, varies on the book! It can range from a quote that sticks out, memorable dialogue, something to keep in mind as I re-read!

Overall, I find it depends on the book too: For YA contemporary I may stick more to highlighting than in YA fantasy & Sci-Fi.

1a. Pens: I try to stick to 1 color to not crowd the text with too many colors as I annotate!

Though I’m using this specifically for university readings, I find its great if you want to underline/circle words that stick out or that you may not know, connecting ideas, and maybe even add in symbols like asterisks, question marks, or illustrations, & create a key for what they mean, while also having it stand out more next to certain text!

2. Sticky Tabs: Similar to highlighters, I try to find a variety & primarily in paper!

For me sticky tabs are what I use primarily to annotate because they’re easy to spot and I can also add notes/comments to them!

I find with sticky tabs (especially the paper ones) they provide an easy and fun way to mark passages, quotes, etc. if I’m not in the mood for highlighting!

Sticky tabs for my annotating are used more for a variety of different things that stick out easier for me than with a highlighter. For example, in the fantasy books I’m revisiting I’m using different colored tabs to indicate & write different elements I want to remember.

Such as, important plot points, memorable lines, setting/atmosphere descriptions, character introductions, favorite quotes.

Sticky tabs are more of my go-to for annotating and as I find a variety of tabs, its making it a lot more fun too!

3. Sticky Notes: Though I haven’t used them yet, in my annotations I find they will be great for marking big passages!

I find that sticky notes will be useful for not only remembering bigger passages of dialogue, descriptions, etc. but also provide the opportunity to add in commentary if the margins within the pages aren’t enough!

I’ve been brainstorming on how I’ll use sticky notes and find they will be great for: summarizing chapters, commentary, bookmarking big passages, maybe provide a fun way to indicate thoughts before + after a chapter, & be a great way to annotate the inside flap of a book without writing directly on it!


So overall, annotating means something different for every book and every reader and that’s amazing!

For me, it allows me to revisit, look back on my favorite book bring more to the reading experience, & remind me why I loved a book & reading in general, so much!

Do you annotate books? If so, what do you annotate & what are your methods/styles for it?

You can check out my Wordpress blog (where I post more frequently) for YA Book Reviews & other book-related content: 24hr.YABookBlog

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