How I Annotate Books

There are many different types of readers in the book community, readers who will only read a book once, readers who will read the book multiple times, ones who annotate, and ones who dog-ear the pages, just to name a few. I fall into many categories but some being the reader who re-reads books and one who annotates their books.

Now with annotating, there are different ways to annotate, some readers like to write their thoughts on each page, and some like to use sticky flags to tag fanatic, some quotes, some point-of-views, or things the reader relates to on another level.

With many of my books, you’ll see little colored tabs jutting out of the side. Before I learned to annotate, I would always write down my favorite quotes and moments in a separate book with the page number so that I could reference back to it when I wanted to re-read that specific scene. But as I read more books and wasn’t very organized, I would lose these markers and would have to search through the entire book. But I found a more efficient way to annotate.

So here is my guide to annotating! It’s not perfect and has lots of flaws, but it’s a way of remembering certain scenes within books that I would like to re-read without reading the entire book again.

Starting off, I like to use some colored tabs that reflect the emotion I was feeling during the time I was reading and some for future-me to be able to flip to and relive that moment I had tagged. To list briefly these colours mean the following:

  • Blue = sad moments
  • Red = angry or disgusted
  • Green = funny/moments that made me laugh
  • Pink = cute/romantic/heartwarming moments that made my heart beat a little harder
  • Orange = surprised/plot-twist (or even potential foreshadowing)
  • Purple = my favorite moments/quotes

Even though I have these specific colors to attach to emotions, there are quite a few flaws that make it a bit confusing for others who may go through my annotations, as I don’t physically write in the book, so they just have to go off of their own intuition of what I might be tagging. Even for me, the tagging can be a bit hard, as I may feel multiple emotions within one scene. For example pink could be a romantic scene that gives me butterflies or pink could be a heartwarming scene between platonic characters with no semblance of romance. The orange tag is for when I am surprised, I sometimes also use it to tag potential foreshadowing that would lead to that big surprising scene. So this annotating system is not perfect, and there are many other annotating systems that are a bit more solid, but as of now, I will continue to use this annotating system until I improve it.

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