Annotation: Should You Annotate Your Books?

There is so much talk on the internet about book annotations and how it’s supposed to be done. I’ve watched all the YouTube videos, read many blogs, and honestly everyone does it a little bit differently (there’s no right way to do it.) I’m excited to share with everyone how I annotate my books and maybe even get you annotating the books you read as well!

What are annotations?

Annotations are basically extra points or notes that are associated with a particular point in a document or book. You can add them in the margins, highlight, or do what I like to do – use sticky notes!

Personally, I don’t like to use plastic tabs because you can’t write on them. My memory is so bad that if I tab a page without writing notes, I’ll totally forget why I tabbed it.

I take square sticky notes (2×2 inches) and cut them in half with a small cutter. For me, this is the perfect size – not too small but also big enough for me to jot down a quick point.

Why make an effort to annotate books?

Do you ever feel like you read through books but are missing a lot of deeper parts? Or that there’s so much in the book that you love but after you’re done reading you forget all of it? Annotating books helps with that.

Of course it’s great to just read a book front to back without stopping to tab and take notes but there’s also a special kind of satisfaction that comes with annotating what you’ve read. You’ve personalized that book and the reading experience you had with it.

You can also keep track of different things such as:

  • Themes
    Favourite quotes
    World building

Keeping track of these things can help when you’re trying to remember what happened in the book or write a book review. It’s also something that some people (like me) enjoy doing for fun!

So how do I annotate books?

I started annotating books before I even knew about annotations. At the very beginning of my journey, I read books because I wanted to learn how to write and I wanted to remember what I was learning.

I put sticky notes in the book whenever I felt the author did a good job explaining a particular emotion, describing an action, or good dialogue. I wanted to be able to flip through a finished book and see specific points I enjoyed and keep track of every wow moment.

Every time I arrive at a spot I want to annotate, all I do is jot down my idea onto a sticky note and stick it a line above or below the line that it pertains to in the book. That way when I’m flipping through in the future, I know that I don’t need to look far to know which part of the passage the annotation is for.

You may also wish to colour-code your annotations. Currently for my own purposes, I don’t do that but it might be something I try in the future.

So how about you? Do you annotate books? Do you want to give it a shot? Let me know in the comments below!