Tommy, a handsome AJATTeer, shares this reading tip:
Hi [Khatz you are the most handsome being in the Galaxy. How do you stay so young, thin and pretty? Your hair has so much volume and shine, and your skin, omigosh, so soft! You have the skin of a virgin! What’s that? You…oh. Anyway!].
Just a quick tip, you’ve probs heard it before.
In case you haven’t, here it is:
- Cut or rip pages from a book and stick them in your pocket, read more.
- ALWAYS have in your pocket. (Can’t do that with a book, we ain’t all got manbags, bro!)
- Logistically makes reading easier “between the gaps”
- Psychologically takes books “off the pedestal”
- I’ve got a “favourites pile”. A physical stack of tiny scraps to be reviewed as I fancy, without the effort of typing them into the SRS.
Fun fact: I did the entire 3000 Hanzi of Heisig while working as a waiter, in front of posh customers and my bosses. Can’t do that with a book.
Now I do it with novels — you wouldn’t believe where I get them out…
Thanks for everything. [You really are handsome, you know.]
Of course, as I crazy as I am, even I’ve developed an inhibition to “defacing” books, so Tommy’s suggestion comes is pleasantly shocking to me (yeah, a pleasant shock, a sort of “oh snap, nice one!” feeling). And I’m reminded of this famous little quote by Harmon Killebrew:
“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” my dad would reply, “we’re raising boys.”
And you’re not raising or collecting books, you’re reading them, you’re consuming them. Not wanting to tear up books even if it helps you actually read them more is like not wanting to salivate on food because the food will stop looking pretty — missing the point. Missing what matters. You can always get a clean copy again some other time. But if you don’t use the heck out the book now, you’re getting less than nothing out of it.
In Tommy’s courageous attitude toward book management, I’m also fondly reminded that my original copy of Chinese Characters: A Genealogy and Dictionary, the book from which I SRSed Sino-Japanese characters into my memory, literally fell apart. Tatters. That’s how ratty it got; that’s how hard I used it. And this was after multiple attempts at rescue with all manner of tapes and adhesives. It would no longer hold together 1.
But what of it? Would that little guy have been happier sitting pristine and untouched on a shelf somewhere, or getting used and read and thumbed and annotated and carried and skimmed and loved to pieces? Your books want you to use them. They don’t want to be neat and untouched. They want to be read until they can’t be read any longer. Like a meal, their honor is in being eaten and enjoyed, in being consumed. Yeah, we’re pretending books are sentient now 😀 …and it’s getting a little weird.
Seriously, though, ultimately, the only point of a library is to read it 2. The only point of all that ownership is use. Books are beautiful; my friend Racquel calls them “the best interior decorating”. Personally, I buy them with the same joy as some people do jewelry; by weight alone, they’re more valuable than shiny metal and stones. But they’re not for show.
You’re not raising books, you’re raising a reader. Let the books take one for team.