Some of my best friends are books. Once in a while, I pull some of my all-time favorites off the shelf and re-read the highlighted sections. (They wouldn’t be favorites if there weren’t highlights.) It feels like a visit with an old friend.
You can’t highlight in borrowed library books, however, so years ago I started copying out portions of literature into notebooks. I used a regular old spiral, college ruled notebook and wrote in longhand, old fashioned girl that I am. Whenever I read a book, I kept a pencil in hand and made a slight mark in the margin when something seemed especially significant to me. Then, when I finished the book, I went back and copied out all the sections that were marked. Sometimes it was a sentence or two; sometimes a paragraph or two; occasionally a page or two. If I realized that I was about to copy most of a book, I knew it deserved a place on my shelf and I bought a copy of my own. However, writing the words out in a notebook helped me retain more of the information and made it easier to refer to later.
There is something about the scritch-scritch of pencil on paper that engages all my senses. The feel of the pencil in my hand, the smell of the graphite and wood and paper, the sound of cursive letters being laid down, the language taking shape before my eyes. Writing words down is like grabbing ahold of a fleeting thought and giving it a place to land, to nest.
Now I have several notebooks full of excerpts and quotes. And on quiet, rainy Sunday afternoons, I might sit with one of my old friends and and have a visit.
…of making many books there is no end… Ecclesiastes 12:12