Sunday, August 26, 2007


''This important book has been made
unreadable by the act(s) of thoughtless
people underlining, circling, and
marking lines right across the
very words themselves.
Please, fellow library users, if
You Don't Own A BOOK
These books are for everyone, and the
stupid markings that are scribbled in
them ruin the experiences of others.''
-Anonymous note on a piece of paper tucked into God and State by Michael Bakunin in the McMaster Library, Hamilton, Ontario.


gregvw said...

I've often wondered what was up with people who must underline every word in a book when they read it.

Rufus said...

It's totally depressing. What gets me is the notes in the margins. Someone once told me that they never read the notes scribbled in the margins because they're depressingly stupid 95 percent of the time. And sure enough it's held true in my experience.

Holly said...

That's *exactly* the kind of shitty note I'd leave, if I was in the habit of deliberately ruining library books.

Anonymous said...

The only people who insist on scribbling their thoughts in the margins of books are morons, which is why the comments have a strong tendency to be absolute drivel. I have had the experience of buying used books for classes only to discover that the previous reader felt it his duty to share with me every inanity that sprung into his oatmeal brain while he was reading. Some of these books I truly loved, but was pained to read because of the shit-for-brains crap some pencil happy nitwit foisted upon me. Yeah, that's how I really feel. Thanks for allowing me to vent. That one's been building for YEARS.

Rufus said...

Holly- No, what was great about that note is that they wrote it on their own piece of paper and tucked it into the front of the book, so that it was impossible to open it without reading it. And they were completely right, by the way. People had marked the thing to death, God knows why.

Anon- The last one I read was a book about Philip II in which someone had felt compelled to comment sarcastically every single time they felt that the author hadn't been sufficiently worshipful towards the Catholic Church. Lots of things like 'Well, maybe that's because Rome is RIGHT!' Needless to say, that got really old by about fifteen minutes in.

Holly said...

(That was a joke, you see: The people who mark books up are likely to condemn book marking. I need a new joke writer.)

Rufus said...

Ah, hopefully my sense of humor will return after these exams are done. If not then, after grad school.

Hiromi said...

Heh. There've been times when I looked over the notes I wrote in margins of stuff I own and thought, God what a stupid thing I wrote. It's made me want to keep my thoughts to myself, even when I'm just talking to myself!