Monday, October 26, 2009

I Need A Plan...So I Plan to Check Out Musing Monday.

So, let's see what this weeks question is from the ever curious Just One More Page!

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about note taking…

Do you take notes while reading – either for your reviews or for yourself? How/where do you make these notes (on the page, post-its, scrap paper, notebooks etc)?

I will admit it. I am a bad book reviewer.

I don't mean that the result is bad...I leave that to you, my dear readers, to decide. Maybe yes, maybe no. No, I mean I am very bad at actually going about it. I have no system.

Really, I have been doing this for awhile now, certainly over a year now and I have written a goodly number of reviews, so one would think that I would have it down pat, but I do not. Which may also explain why I have a small pile of books, sitting in my view, waiting to be reviewed. Now that pile is not to be confused with the pile of ARCs to be read. Or the pile of library books to be read. Or the much larger pile of the general To Be Read pile.

I know that there should never be, for me, a pile to be reviewed, because I MUST write the review while the book is fairly fresh in my mind. Not needs to ferment overnight or an afternoon maybe. But I know if I finish a book, put it down and start another book, I am in trouble. My wee mind will soon be full of the new book and it will just take me that much longer to get back to what I felt, what I wanted to say, about the review book. So, sometime it joins The Pile Granted, this is where notes might come in. So, what about notes. Do I take notes and if so, do they help?

Well, here again I have not really found a system that works for me all the time.
I do not write in books.
That is just evil.
A notebook would seem too much like work. And work is always to be avoided.(don't mention that to my boss, ok?)
On occasion, I have used regular sized post-it notes to write some ideas down and stuck them in the book near a quote that it refers to, but that has problems. First, my handwriting is awful. Often I have no idea what the note says when I go back to read it. Second, I hate to pause to find the post-it, the pen, actually write the note. I know, I should be better organized, but I am not and have come to peace with that. So now, I usually stick one of those wee post-its or those arrow-like post-its pointing to what I think is an important point in the book. I love the cute dispensers and I got a big pack of them at Sam's Club, so I can stash some all over the place. Then, before I start to write the review, I go back and look at all the things that I have 'highlighted'.

About half of them usually make sense to me. I study the rest, trying to figure out why in the world I thought that was important.
Then I lay down and take a nap.
Perhaps you now see my reviewing problem.

I really need to get a better system.... ;-)


  1. I use the post-it flags, but then don't always use the passages I marked when I write my review.

  2. I never make notes. I have to review the book right after I finish reading it so it's still fresh in my mind. Like you, if I start another book before I write the review, I'm lost.

  3. I keep telling myself to get some of those flags, or, even better, a package of book darts tomark key passages, but I never remember, and so I must resort to dog-earing. That can usually get me to the right half page, anyway.
    (I know, I know, some people are having palpitations now, but it's usually only a few pages.)

    And yes, I also pretty much have to write my reviews as soon as I'm done. Once I'm into a new book, the old one is over.

  4. Ok...get out the wet noodle....I sometimes mark in pencil in books. I do this only in ARCs that are truly galley proofs that I know I'll never give away.

    I use the flags or a colored sticky tape. I also use paper book marks that are 'empty' on one side and I just jot down the page number and then come back at the end.

    I do try to write the review as soon as possible after I finish the book. If I don't, I never get to it. I start by jotting notes and then fleshing out the notes, and then re-arranging to make something that makes sense. I have the most trouble with plot lines...i don't like to reveal them, but find it hard to write a review w/o discussing the plot.

    And write teriffic reviews.

  5. Dog-earring Teresa....writing in books...oh my heavens...I am feeling faint! ;-)

    although, as Tina says, I am not sure gallery proofs count.

    Kathy, I think the whole post-it line is a grand invention.

    Yvonne, glad to know I am not the only one that needs to get right to the review. Now, if I would just do it.

  6. I use post-it tags too, and they're for passages I want to take note when writing for my reviews.

  7. I am going to go and get me some of those cute, colorful flag stickies!

    I need to do the review shortly after reading as well.

  8. I also need to write the review right after finishing. Otherwise, I'll be scratching my head. sometimes I wish I had a tape recorder, because I come up with these great lines in my head, bu the never make it to paper.
    Here's my musing

  9. I'm the odd ball in the bunch. I have to take notes because I don't often get the opportunity to write the review right away.

  10. At my age, notes to self are a constant lifestyle!

    A lot of times, though I can't imagine why I thought I needed that note only to remember why after I threw it out.

    Ditto on your reviews, they are always wonderful.

  11. KIKI,

    mom and i agree that you may not be the most "proactive" person we know. mom, having finished about 50% of her christmas shopping already would have a very methodical system of approaching book reviews - if she didn't find them reminiscent of dreaded gradeschool book reports.

    anyway, the point is that you need to GET A BACKSPLASH PICKED OUT FOR GOODNESS-SAKE and finish those reviews up in a timely matter ; )


  12. Melody..the trick is remembering why I tagged it. I need a note for that!

    Nise', they are cute, aren't they! I like the colors.

    Jenny Girl, I have thought the same thing! usually right before I go to sleep or just wake up. I am not sure they are great or just seem that way at the time.

    CeeCee, I agree notes may be good..if I could read them at a later date.

    Kaye...oh, I so know what you

    Bandit,,,my dear Bandit, I am well aware of my issues. Reviews are the least of my problems. I have a backsplash. It has been sitting in boxes for a few years, thank you very much.
    Thinking about Christmas gives me a headache.

    I need a nap....

  13. Honestly that sounds like my reviewing system. I didn't think of the post-it-note flags. I'll have to get some of those because I just love them anyway!

  14. I would love to start taking more notes when I read! Generally I write in my books and highlight things that interest me. I love looking through my old books and seeing notes of my past experiences. When I go to review the book, however, I often find that I miss things I wanted to talk about. I think I'll continue writing in the book for myself and maybe I'll start taking notes in a notebook!

  15. I think I might try those, it sounds easier than writing notes!!

  16. I love those pointy posty notes. I'm with you, I have to write my review before I can start reading another book or I get confused--I think I need a nap too. You make me smile. Thanks for stopping by today.

  17. I love the little dispensers for the wee post it flags. They are always so cute and smart!

    Just because I write in books it isn't right for everyone. I like your way too. And I have to admit even with my writing in books I sometimes don't understand why I marked a passage either :D

  18. you know, if you are really cheap, you can reuse those pointy post-its. they are plastic, and if you make a little pile of them when you take them out of the book, you can move it to your new book...

    just saying... ;-)

  19. Oh I love those sticky pointers too, except I try not to use too many of them because they can get pricey! I use them more on books that I teach, marking notes and important points I want to bring up in class.

    I still use the same system that I developed in high school--marking page references and key passages, then make a journal entry.

  20. Oh My God ... I have the same system! I just mark a page and when I finally get around to reviewing the book, I try to figure out what I was marking it for!! Often, I can't! I really need to get my act together!

  21. I am happy to know that others are as disorganized as I am. lol


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