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A place for thought, progress, and dissent.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Treatise on becoming an underliner.

I became an underliner today. Not one of these people who underlines important text on websites that aren't actually links. These people do not understand the finer points of emphasis. The do not see that our society has changed the underline to signify a hyperlink instead of emphasis. Look at methods of citation. Last I checked, both APA and MLA style guides have ceased underlining titles and italicized them instead. Underlines on a computer lead the reader to want to click. When the click produces nothing but the sound of a mouse button, confusion insues. I understand this, and this is not the kind of underliner I have become.

I have become the underliner I have teased, ridiculed, and scoffed at for years. Much to my dismay, I began underlining important passages in a book. It should be noted that the book in question was not a textbook, a manuscript I am proofreading, or a critical technical manual. This book is for pleasure.

I underlined for two reasons. The first is simply that I expect I will want to find the particular passage in the future. I cannot bear to deface my book by turing down a page corner, so and underline seemed like the best method. The second reason I underlined is a bit sneaky. I hope to load this book to others, and I would hate for them to miss this important and surely genius passage. The simple underline allows me to annotate the text, and sway future readers to acknowledge the passages I deem important.

Underlining troubled me at first. I cannot bear to alter the pristine state of a book - it is a sacred state that should never be changed. Putting permanent markings is unthinkable and even the light pencil marks I made affect my concept of feng shui. Nevertheless, I am putting my obsessive-compulsive tendencies aside for the good of my brain. I simply cannot recall what points I desire to remember - moreover where they are - without marking them. Let the I-told-you-so influx begin. I have given in.


At 9:37 PM, Blogger KTB said...

yay morrison! welcome to the wonderful world of being an interactive reader (and forcing those you loan the book to into being interactive themselves!) there is a fabulous quote i read once, of course i can't remember who it was by or what exactly it was. but something to the effect of "books weren't meant to be read, they were meant to be thrown with great frustration." so true! if i had the patience to write anything longer than a half-page poem (a full page on a good day) i would want my readers to underline, fold pages, highlight, draw stars and write notes in the margins, throw it when the characters infuriate them, hug it when the characters tug at their heartstrings... truly a book is meant to be an interactive thing. it lives and breathes with the breath of its writer, and perhaps more importantly, with its every reader. :)


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