Reasons and Ways of Annotating Books 

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As the world is advancing, people are getting more attached to reading on kindle rather than reading real books. Similarly, ways of annotating books, too, are changing. Now, your finger tap on kindle can do many functions for you including annotating the book. Annotation is not a new phenomenon. Previously, before the invention of the printing press, it had a very significant role. Not that it does not have any today but a little different and personal usage.. 

Annotation in books refers to comments or any notes that a reader writes on a book, or maybe any point that he/she highlights. It can also refer to the reader’s understanding of a paragraph that he sums up in bits and writes on the sides of a page. For instance, back in the 1800s, books with annotation were traded because they used to help the new readers in understanding the text. The understanding or reception of text varies from one person to person.

My understanding of the book differs from yours, due to which I may miss a perspective or a point. Thus, reading an annotated book helps you read a book from a wide perspective. However, it’s not necessary that you read one, you can pick a new one and make it one. I think it is a good reading practice and one should try to adopt such a habit.

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annotating books

Why you should annotate books?

Well, students annotate their academic books. It helps them in memorization and understanding. But you can annotate your books other than academics. Depending on the creativity of a person, it could be really fun. Personally, I cannot read a book without annotating them. I cannot resist my hands. I mean, how can someone read without adding comments, notes or highlighting interesting points. There could be multiple reasons for why one should do, or may be no logical reasons at all. Still, for me it serves three purposes. 

1.Help in Understanding

Whether you are reading an academic book or any other book for fun, in both cases annotating the book will add to your understanding. When you read a point, your mind processes it, your understanding of the world interprets the text. When you add a point to it, it further illuminates the idea of the book, hence you get  a better idea. Similarly, when you read the book, that added point  makes you quickly understand the concept. 

2.Active Reading

When you are someone who has a habit of annotating the book, you always read actively. Consequently, you don’t miss any point or lose the rhythm. Besides, active reading is directly attached to better understanding, thus annotation can save energy and give clear understanding 

3.Adds to memory

It adds to your memory of remembering points from that book. If you highlight or ponder on the point and then add supplementary comments, you will remember that point later on. This is something I have experienced, so I would fully recommend you to do it, if you have problems remembering essential points. 

4.Future Referencing

It’s not really common that we re-read a book, so  if you annotate for academic purposes, later on you will easily find points and arguments for references. Highlighting or marking on a pencil would save your time in future.

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Tools and Methods of annotating books


I love highlighting different aspects and points in a book with different colors. It appeals to my eyes more. You can also use highlighter to illuminate different points. For instance, you can use different highlighters for different quotes by different characters or you can use highlighters to mark significant or technical things

2.Sticky notes.

Some people don’t like to write directly on paper. In such cases they can use sticky notes. You can write your thoughts or add additional notes by using sticky notes.  You can easily remove them if you want to. Besides, sometimes there isn’t enough space in the book, in such a situation you can take help of stick notes. 

3.Pen or Pencil

Beside using highlighters, I always write my thoughts on a book with a pencil.  Any idea that pops in your mind, you can write it down. Also,  later on when you re-read the book, written comments help you connect the concept with other different ideas.

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These are the few important and easy ways to annotate books. I would encourage you to do it. Similarly, starting is difficult so try not to be hard on yourself. Underline or highlight something that seems important or looks different to you. There is no hard and fast rule. 

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