If you're gonna mark in the fucking library book, at least get it right dammit.

Some friends of mine were discussing Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and I realized that I hadn’t read it since high school, and it was probably worth a re-read. I had just finished another book, so yesterday I went to the library at lunchtime, grabbed a copy off the shelf, and checked it out to begin this weekend. When I started reading it today, I saw that someone had made copious underlinings and annotations in the text.

As a general rule, I hate when people mark up books. I rarely even highlighted my textbooks in school, and when I bought used textbooks, I found the prior owner’s notes irritating. But to mark up a library book is fucking unforgivable. Nonetheless, I had the book in my hands and thought might as well read it.

The book begins: “The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest.” The prior user had neatly boxed the word “yawl” and written a definition: “a flat-bottomed river barge.”

The problem is that is not at all fucking close to what a yawl is. A yawl is a two-masted fore-and-aft rigged sailing vessel with the shorter mast abaft the rudder post. I could see if the scribbling definer had gotten it even partially correct, perhaps even “a sailboat,” but “a flat-bottomed river barge” doesn’t fit into the context of the damned sentence. Well, I thought to myself, not everyone is a sailor, and they’re both types of watercraft, and read on.

I soon reached the last sentence of the third paragraph: “It was difficult to realize his work was not out there in the luminous estuary, but behind him, within the brooding gloom.” The unknown marker had underlined “brooding gloom” and jotted “alliteration.”

What the fuck! “Brooding gloom” is lovely language, but there is simply nothing alliterative about it.

I ran to my desk, grabbed an eraser, and spent the next 20 minutes carefully removing the commentary from all 118 pages of the novel. Fortunately, it’s a short book and most (though not all) of the markings were in pencil.

What kind of a major moronic mouth-breather marks merrily (that’s alliteration) in a library book, but while spending the effort at desecration, gets it entirely wrong.

Good rant. In this situation, the only thing worse than pedantic vandalism is inaccurate pedantic vandalism.

I’m with you on this one, big time. People who write in library books drive me up the wall. Abd even if they get it right, it doesn’t excuse them, because it still makes life hard for anyone who reads the book later on.

Novels are not the only victims, as i’m sure you’re aware. There’s nothing worse than trying get through a dense work of history or anthropology or whatever while having your attention grabbed on every page by some ridiculously inane marginalia, a whole bunch of correction marks, or various colours and shades of circling, bracketing, underlining and highlighting. Not everyone who reads the book is looking for the same thing, so sometimes the markings can effectively cover the whole text.

This habit is nothing more than a sign of juvenile selfishness, no matter how old the perpetrator. If you want to write in books, go and buy your own fucking copy, inconsiderate asshole.

Well, one thing-I mark my books all the time.

And sometimes library books are books that were previously owned. So, it could be that someone did this to a book they owned, that was later donated to the library.

But yeah, it does suck.

I mark my study books, but then they’re my study books. I find it helpful as my memory is crap and I don;t remember what abbreviations mean.

But sod it, they’re my bloody books, and they even have a few blank lines at the bottom of every page for me to do just that!

Writing in someone elses book or a library book is just poor. Especially if you write some extremely bad angst ridden poetic lines… “The sky a blackened dawn, as the flower withers, turn loose the swans…” on your frigging arse mate!
Or worse is ticking off how many “Serial Killer Warning Traits” you posses. Wanker.

Marking your own books is fine. I do it in some books, and not in others.

But no library, or at least no academic library, should even consider purchsing a book with writing in it unless that is the very last copy of the book available anywhere. MHO.

I just read three books in a row that had been marked, and each time I didn’t read the marks but just erased them straight away. In the process I did see that a couple were making typos, but so what? The marks just made the typos stand out.

What if something’s just wrong?

For example, one nonfiction book I read several years ago (can’t recall the title) refers in passing to “Nazi philosopher Julius Rosenberg.” Oy!!

The marginal note I liked the best was in Mary by Nabokov (at least i think that was the novel.)

Description of two male roommates in an apartment, flamboyant and into arts. The marginal note was:
<---------- Gay???

:smack:

LOL. I’d like to know what kind of person would actually go to the trouble of making that note in the margin…baffling.

I got my brother’s hand-me-down books for college (we’re taking the same major, so it works out, as long as the major reading lists don’t change).

He marks little sarcastic comments in the Math books! Why!?

Example: “Taking sample surveys with possibly biased populations may prove difficult, as respondants may not tell the truth as they do not wish the surveyor to know the results.” [Helpful comment: "Around here, you’re more likely to get ‘Fuck off!’ as a survey result.’]

Thanks, bro.

It was a 1985 edition of Heart of Darkness picked up from the Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library, and there was at least one other identical edition on the same shelf. Somehow I doubt that it was taken from the collection of a great Conrad scholar who willed his books to the library.

Oh god, I hate it when I take a book out, and I like non fiction books on subjects like history or biographies of terribly worthy historical types which are also taken out to my chagrin by students who are evidently doing a course on these things mark every other damn page with acres of thick pencil underlinings or even worse biro, that I can’t rub out!

I took out this biography of Paul (the biblical guy, saw some pretty lights on the road to Damascus, you remember him!) and I swear, on just about every page there was entire paragraphs thickly underlined. It made me furious. I had to go through the entire thing with a rubber (eraser for you American types), and it isn’t the first time I have had to do that. Why are these people who do this so damn selfish? when I was a student, I never marked books, if I wanted to note a particular passage I wrote down the page number on a piece of paper with my other notes. To mark the book and spoil the reading experience for those who would read it after me never occured to me! :mad

ohhh the best one of all was-I took out a reference book about rock music once-and the page that had an entry I particularly wanted to read was missing-Why? because on that page there happened to be the entry for Jon Bon Jovi and clearly some stupid teenage girl had ripped out that page because there was a picture of Bon Jovi on there, I surmise this because there was a picture of him on another page that had been cut out just leaving the caption.

What the FUCK??? Just because a book has some pictures of some stupid pop star you have a crush on that gives you the right to vandalise the book and ruin it for everyone else? There was an entry on that page that you ripped out (not about jon bleeding bon jovi) that I REALLY wanted to read and I couldn’t because of your raging hormones and your shitty selfish attitude. Fuck you you little bitch, I hope you met Bon Jovi and he was rude to you and he made you cry!

I have been having that stewing inside me for years, feels good to let it out at last!

For a college English course once, I got a copy of John Gardener’s Grendel, that had been marked up. Who ever had it before me had laid out the thesis for their entire essay in the margins of the book. And they were a moron. The book has twelve chapters, so this person decided that each chapter stood for one of the signs of the zodiac. And the reasons were just stupid. There’s a goat in one chapter, so that chapter must be “Ares.” Grendel goes swimming, so that chapter must be “Pisces.” The symbols weren’t even in their proper chronological order.

Fuckin’ halfwit wrote it all in ink, too.

I gotta tell ya–as a librarian it is my fond dream to catch someone in the act of tearing a page out of one of our books so I can unleash some seriously unholy librarian powers on their sorry asses!!! Those types of people are scum as far as I’m concerned. Too freakin cheap to spend the 10 cents and make a copy of the damn article so that everyone else can use it down the line. A few years ago we even had one budding genius turn in a ‘copy’ of a journal article for an assignment with the glue still hanging off of one side of the page. She was quite shocked when we busted her for that one. It always does my heart good when we bust one of these master criminal types.

This:

is priceless. I’ve always wanted to talk back to my math book !!!

The only way we would ever add a book to our collection with marking in it, is if were the last copy on the planet.

We flip through every book as it’s returned, if it has writing in it you will be buying it. Same with torn pages. There is a special level of Hell for people who damage Library books.

Tink

(Anal retentive Librarin and proud of it )

So he remembers the material.

I’m serious, sarcastic commentary comprises much of my study regime. I write ongoing sarcastic notes in my my binders and keep the class material contained within them. You can’t fall asleep and you have to pay attention to write snotty essays about every lecture.

Man, I’d love to see the rationalization in that essay. Heck, I’d even write it.

I dont hurt books… PERIOD

I dont even make marks in my own books. I dont think I’ve ever even dog eared a page in my life. The first time I ever lent a book to an aquaintance I realized what a mistake it was. In the past I had lent books to fellow nerds, but never a reaql person. in 7th grade, my beautiful, brand new, spinecracking book, came back to mee in sh*t!!!. there were little pencil scrapes on every page, a huge fold on the cover, the spine was completey frayed,pages were ripped. Turns out that my friend had somehow left the book on the floor of her room, next to her pencil case, which her demon seed little sister had found, IT WAS RUINED!!!
I thinkI actually cried when i got that book back without even the tiniest bit of remorse from my friend, she hadnt even noticed that the book was ruined.
**Please explain to me how people can treat books with such disrespect! **

I remember a book i once read, The Pearl by john steinbeck, he said, “The killing of a boat is worse than the killing of a man”

In my minds eye I changed that to “The killing of a book is worse than the killing of a man”. That has been my personal montra since I was young.