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Writing in the margins


A recent post on Tina’s ‘The English Muse’ blog had these images of the books and writings of the late David Foster Wallace which are now being posted online by the The University of Texas at Austin. My first reaction wasn’t a good one. I don’t like my books being sullied with writing. I don’t like underlining paragraphs, not even with a pencil. I’d rather copy out any inspiring passages into my notebook.

I remember ordering a used copy of Natalie Goldberg’s ‘Writing Down the Bones’ from Amazon. When I got it, I was shocked to see the colourful pen marks, the highlighting, the scribbles on the pages. It was painful. I couldn’t bear to read the book – the markings were too distracting.

Tina can’t bear to write in hardback books but doesn’t mind scribbling in the margin of paperbacks. What about you?


The New Yorker has a lovely essay on ‘Marginalia’ here.


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