Book babbling.

As a budding novelist and an avid reader I usually find myself picking out phrases that really speak to me in someone else’s writing. I’ve taken to tabbing those phrases within the book so I can go back to them again and again. Trying to work out how the author made me feel that way, what words strike me and I try to learn through their writing how to better myself, in my own style. I enjoy it – it’s quite fun and the books I own are more colourful for it.

When I started reading The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, I had to stop tabbing because there ended up being two to three tabs per page. I decided not to tab-attack TFIOS because the whole book was simply amazing. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me borderline hysterical and I frightened my cats with my laughing/crying madness.

It was wonderful and brilliant and I was an emotional wreck for two solid hours after I was finished reading it. I am recommending this book, with great love, to everyone reading this humble little blog. As an adult who reads Young Adult literature, I can absolutely say that this book will be greatly enjoyed by anyone who picks it up.

Reading is one of life’s great adventures and goodness knows I wish I had the time to read as much as I did in Middle School. If I spent that much time reading now, I’d have no job, money or food. Darn those necessities of life.

163 thoughts on “Book babbling.

  1. I do the same! In fact I have a separate notebook which contains all the favorite quotations I read in a certain book. Btw, I noticed that you just started blogging. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed immediately. πŸ™‚

    • Now there’s an idea! I like the idea of writing all the quotes out in a seperate notebook, although sometimes I find a lot of wonderful phrases in a book. Too many to maybe write in a notebook? I’m weighing the pros and cons here.
      Also – thank you for the congratulations, I just discovered this late last night when I came home from work and thank you so much for reading!

      • As someone who seriously enjoys her quotes, a purse sized quote notebook is the most wonderful gift I have received this year. A little source of wonder inside my mostly crap filled purse, that would go on the pro list πŸ™‚ Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  2. I keep a separate notebook containing interesting quotes from the books I read. I don’t have any John Green book but I’m buying this as soon as I can. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Caorthine, seems we have a lot in common. I will have to check out The Fault in Our Stars. I look forward to your observations on “coping methods for the insanity of life.”

    I like reading Shakespeare aloud, but I have no cats to use as an excuse πŸ˜‰

    • Honestly, I’ve just started blogging. But I promise more coping methods in the future.
      Also – Cats are a good excuse and make a good audience actually, but without them I’m pretty sure I’d be reading Shakespeare aloud, regardless!

  4. Great post…I love your whole idea of marking the quotes that speak to you…. i might have to try it sometime πŸ™‚

  5. I love this — they definitely need to invent more colors for you … and apparently, make books bigger in size so you can have more space for your colorful tabs.

    So this…this is one of the problems with e-readers, right? No ability to “tab” — only to highlight. Not quite as tactile.

    I am a full-time freelance writer, and I’m always looking for good reading recommendations — adding yours to the list. Thank you!


    • I really wish the Post-It company WOULD come out with more colors for the tabs. Then maybe I could find a way to color coordinate my tabbing. Love scene – Pink. Action scene – Purple. Description – Light Blue. Dialogue – Red. Or something.
      Honestly, I love the idea of e-readers and saving trees from being used as paper for books, but I simply can’t get used to them. I end up missing the feel of a real book in my hands and the lack of being able to tab.
      Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. Any book by John Green is wonderful. You should definitely look him up too.

  6. I’ve started using bookmarks in my Kindle to mark passages of books I really like, but you’re right, with some books you’d just end up bookmarking the whole thing.

    • Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors and I’m glad to know that he’s one of yours too! John Green is absolutely worth a look though. The Fault In Our Stars is amazing.

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    • Sorry my computer spazzed out before I was done typing…I love learning other people’s strategies to becoming a better writer and will definitely put this one in my toolbox! πŸ™‚

      • I’m glad to have given you a new tool for your own toolbox. I love sharing my few tricks of the trade with others. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment! πŸ™‚

  8. John Green is a fantastic writer! And I love that you color books up like that. I typically hate writing in books (despite all college professor telling me this was a necessity, I always wrote down notes and correlating page numbers in a notebook), but tabbing them is a great idea!

    • Isn’t he though? John Green caught me, hook, line and sinker, with Looking for Alaska.
      I don’t like writing in books either, it’s why I tab them instead. It just feels so forbidden, like I shouldn’t be writing my own comments on someone elses work. Like shouting in a library. Tabs are a gentle way of picking out what’s meaningful. (Or, if it’s a text book, the important things that might be on an exam. πŸ˜‰ )
      Thanks for commenting!

  9. I usually write it in a separate notebook,

    Speaking of interesting books have you read Joel C. Rosenberg’s books?
    The Twelfth Imam and The Tehran Initiative are his best yet. Highly recommended read!

  10. I fear the library frowns on me using tabs in the manner suggested. Perhaps, tho, that’s no more than an assumption on my part and possibly unwarranted. Maybe the library LOVES to have books returned to them all tabbed-up, but has been slow to publicize this preference. One wonders, tho, about the proper protocol for subsequent tabulature. Maybe each tabber should use a unique color for his/her tabs. In this way, a future reader (whether a tabber or not) could follow only those tabs whose tab-placer he or she felt in sync. Clearly, the whole topic of tabbing library books requires further discussion and analysis, as well as input from open-minded librarians.

    • I think someone should see if there could be a specific ‘To Be Tabbed Only’ section of the library. That way the library wouldn’t have to worry about all their books being tabbed up like I tab mine. Just a select few.

  11. I cant stand to mark the books. I copy out the quotes – have been doing it since i was 15. got tons of the stuff. keep meaning to type them up but then i’d have no time to write any more down.

    • Sometimes I have too many quotes to write out. That’s why I started tabbing the pages the quotes were on. But it’s so amazing that you write them out! I think this means I’m just being lazy with my tabbing!
      Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment!

  12. For me, reading is one of those necessities in life. I haven’t thought about tabbing books, though – it’s an excellent idea! Especially since, like you, I’m a budding novellist πŸ™‚ Congrats on getting freshly pressed! xx

  13. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    As someone who writes books, it is touching indeed to know that some readers (as I am as well) are so passionate about the words we choose. Which is, when you stop to think about it, a totally arbitrary choice that can, as you say, have a profound effect on thousands of strangers all over the world. It’s astonishing to know that one’s words can touch others but it’s why we do what we do (ideally.)

    • Thank you very much for the congratulations and taking the time to comment!

      I like to think that the world is connected through books and the words of the author have a way of making everyone who reads them feel something. I’ve always thought this. It’s such an amazing thing. I think I spread the tabbing idea a bit today, but a lot of people apparently fill notebooks with their favorite phrases from books. Now that’s something that I admire

    • Norwegian Wood is one of my favorites as well! As for which phrases I marked, I tabbed way too many to type out here in a comment, but I’ll give you one:

      “The firefly made a faint glow in the bottom of the jar, its light too weak, its color too pale. I hadn’t seen a firefly in years, but the ones in my memory sent a far more intense light into the summer darkness, and that brilliant, burning image was the one that had stayed with me all that time.” — Pg. 45 (copyright Haruki Murakami – Norwegian Wood) year 2000 edition.

    • Alright then! I’ll give you one of the phrases I tabbed:

      “Naoko stayed frozen in place, like a small nocturnal animal that has been lured out by the moonlight. The direction of the glow exaggerated the silhouette of her lips. Seeming utterly fragile and vulnerable, the silhouette pulsed almost imperceptibly with the beating of her heart or the motions of her inner heart, as if she were whispering soundless words to the darkness.” Pg 130 (copyright Haruki Murakami – Norwegian Wood) year 2000 edition.

  14. I love my kindle because I can underline and it organizes my notes for me, but I do wish I could color coordinate. I still read the old hard copies of my favorite books, there is something much more intimate about reading the old fashioned way. I like your blog, I’m a new follower.

  15. I enjoyed this post! I love the idea about tabbing quotes.. I’m going to have to check that book out. I just started back up at school so the time I have for reading is usually taken up by textbooks.. I’m with you on wishing I had more time!

  16. I love it! I do the same thing – my books are covered in post-its, highlighted, and written all over. I have a Moleskine book journal that provides a page for each book entry. It gives spaces for favorite quotations, reactions, even awards the book received. I do like to just write about what I read, but this is nice because it is another way to keep track of those quotations!

    • The books you read sound well-loved!
      I think I might have that same Moleskine journal. Are the sections tabbed alphabetically? With blank tabs in the back that you can make whatever you like? If so, it’s fantastic for keeping track of all the books you read and love.

  17. Although I do not use Post-It notes to mark my favorite passages, if they are remarkable, I do tend to remember them. One of my favorite quotes is from The Road by Cormac McCarthy, it’s a dialogue between the Man and the Boy:

    And then later from the darkness. “Can I ask you something?”
    “Of course you can.”
    “What would you do if I died?”
    “If you died I’d want to die too.”
    “So you could be with me?”
    “Yes. So I could be with you.”
    How powerful is that conversation between a father and son?

    • Sometimes a phrase that really moves me will stick with me for a good long time.
      The Road is actually in my To-Read pile so I’m sure I’ll be encountering more of that touching dialogue soon enough.

  18. brilliant idea making a point to mark those amazing phrases that move you.. I find I have phrases in notes on my phone, on corners of my schedule, on random post its. Maybe you should start a website where people post the sentences that move them most!? great blog. πŸ™‚

  19. I know exactly how you feel! I miss those school days when my head is always buried in some book or other. Now I just look at all the “to-be-read” books on my bookshelf and feel sad that I’m taking so long to get through the pile.

    Am loving your post and writings. Keep it going! πŸ™‚

    • I used to spend every waking moment in middle school with my nose stuck in a book. I’m pretty sure I read at least 80% of the Fantasy/Sci-fi section in the school library. It was a brilliant time that I wish I could go back to (sometimes).

      Thank you very much for reading!

  20. I have a friend that passes me books and she turns down the edges of the pages which is intriguing because I find myself trying to guess which passage moved her. After reading so many books like this, I’ve finally started doing it myself, though more because it helps when I write a book review on my blog.

  21. Definitely adding it to the list! Seems it’s all I’ve been doing today! So true! “Darn those necessities of life.” They never leave us enough time to enjoy a good book! Great read! I’ve also noticed that your first picture includes “Norwegian Wood”: I bought it ages ago and never had the chance to read it! 😦 Thanks for that! Your article put a smile on my face πŸ™‚ . Elizabeth.

    • Norwegian Wood is most definitely worth the read if you’re able to make the time. It’s much different from The Fault In Our Stars, but still just as good.
      I’m glad I made you smile. πŸ™‚ Thank you for reading.

  22. Tabs are OK, I suppose, but if you’re planning to pass a book along to a friend, how about leaving SNACKS behind for them? I’m sure we’ve all done this inadvertently. You know, you’re reading a book while eating and a bit of, say, cheesecake, falls from your lips and finds a permanent home there in the middle of page 206. Admittedly, some subsequent readers may find this gross, but there must be some who, like me, are delighted by the prospect of being nourished not only intellectually by a book, but gastronomically as well. Also, it could be an aid to survival. What if you’re stranded on a desert island with only a book to ‘sustain’ you . . . ?

    • I feel bad for the friends I lend my books to. I never eat while reading. It’s one of my rules to keep my books in the best condition they can possibly be in. I should apologise to them just in case they WERE expecting a snack inside the book.

    • Oh my goodness. Everything by John Green.

      Looking For Alaska
      Paper Towns
      An Abundance Of Katherines
      Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan)
      And of course The Fault In Our Stars.

      He’s a fantastic author and one of my favorites!

  23. I actually learned that you can highlight and bookmark on the Kindle so now I want one just for that reason!! I hate to leave marks in a book. I’ve tried the tabs but they get too wrinkly. Congrats on FP! I was also Freshly Pressed the same day — crazy ride, isn’t it???

    • The tabs do sometimes get a bit wrinkled. I’ve gone out of my way to keep them as non-wrinkly as possibly though (in most cases). I have deep bookshelves so it keeps the tabs from being squashed when I put the book back on the shelf.

      I don’t think ‘wild ride’ even begins to cover it! πŸ™‚ I’m still attempting to reply to all the comments. Being Freshly Pressed is certainly something. I’m glad to know I’m not in this alone at least!

  24. I have never tabbed, but I might now so I don’t go crazy trying to look for a quote on my fav books. A college professor teach me to talk to the writer by writing my thoughts on the page right next to the sentence. It has helped me a lot with my own writing.

    • Tabbing does save to time later when your looking for a specific quote later on.
      I don’t really like writing inside the actual book, so I tab instead. Sometimes, if the tab is big enough, I’ll write a little note on the tab.

  25. You should do an MA in literature!! That’s what I’m doing…and the money part – I got it covered because I’m a teaching assistant at Carleton as well. They provide you with that much at least – in relation to life’s necessities… lol

  26. I’m going to get The Fault In Our Stars this weekend … your review sold me on it πŸ™‚ And the fact that you wish you could read as much as you did in middle school – same here! I wouldn’t even come up for air … just read, read, read. I miss having that much time to get lost in a great book!

    • I’m glad you’re going to read it! It’s such a wonderful and amazing book. John Green is my absolute favorite author. When you have time you should check out some of his other books too.
      If only we could freeze time and then take our time with all the wonderful books! πŸ™‚

  27. I grew up reading a lot of books. Now that I am already working, it got a bit harder to look for good books to read. Thanks for recommending “The Fault in our Stars”!

  28. I use to write in my books, but I have learned that what impresses me today is the message for today, but may not be for tomorrow. Therefore, I started using tabs. That way when I decide to go back through a book I can remove tabs that no longer speak to me, and I can add new tabs in their place. I tend to use certain color each time I read it. I love a good novel, but I also love to read books on quantum physics, and these I will re-read many times learning more and more from each one.

    Hey just to let you know since you are a budding novelist, we are having a writing contest on one of my other blogs for charity. I invite you to come on over and check out the contest… Participation will be fun and we invite all levels of writers to participate!

    Peace and Harmony,

    • It’s good to like a variety of books, although I can’t claim to ever have read a book about quantum physics, so you’re leaps and bounds ahead of me! πŸ™‚

      I’ll definitely look into your contest! Thank you for inviting me. β™₯

  29. I adore Murakami. He’s definitely the most contemporary writer who has informed my own style. There’s such a hidden presence between those words.

  30. Have you read “Paper Towns” By John Green?? Hilarious!! Thanks for the post about The Fault In Our Stars, I will definitely pick it up.
    Jenny Heffernan

    • I loved ‘Paper Towns’ and ‘Looking For Alaska’. I love John Green’s writing and have the pleasure of owning all of his books thus far! You’ll love ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ for sure!

  31. Haha, I’m with you on wishing the necessities weren’t so necessary. Read is a much more pleasant way to spend days. Spring should come sooner! Then the hammock can go up and reading and fresh air can go together.
    I haven’t read John Green, I’ll have to check that suggestion out!

    • Oh my goodness. A hammock. That would be awesome! Now I just need to go out and buy myself a hammock! Thank you for that idea! πŸ™‚
      John Green is amazing. You’ll definitely enjoy reading his books!

  32. Oh my goodness, your books look just like mine. I LOVE tabbing and scribbling. Plus, there are ALWAYS post-it coupons. I am obsessed with their new high-lighter/tab pens. I could go nuts.

    • They have highlighter/tab pens now? It’s suddenly like living in the future. I know what I’ll be buying the next time I’m in my stationary store! β™₯ Thank you so much for letting me know about them! πŸ™‚ (Going nuts is perfectly acceptable.)

  33. Pingback: Book babbling and other amusements « Jennifer Snoek-Brown

  34. I found this post by chance, as it was on the freshly pressed page, so I decided to click on it. Reading through your words about TFIOS, I completely agree. I’m glad someone else feels the same way about the book. My friends and I all read it and we have a hard time discussing it because it was so meaningful and we don’t to spoil our memories and impressions of the book that have since been resting in our minds. Nice blog as well πŸ™‚

  35. Congratulations for being Freshly Pressed! Thank you for sharing and recommending this book. I recently read an article in Time Magazine’s most recent issue, and talked about the book. The author of the article also recommended this as a good read.

    Again, congratulations and keep up the good work! πŸ™‚

  36. Loved your post! Especially the tabbing – I am always noting down phrases or words that catches my attention but definitely, the colored tabbing would make the books way more interesting! Now, about the book – you made me very curious, I will definitely have it on the list as the next one to read!! Nice blogging!

  37. I used to do the same but end up with too much of those colorful tags (especially when I’m reading Murakami’s !). So, what I does nowadays is simply marked at the end of the particular paragraphs with red ink (Pilot G5) gel ballpoint. I usually don’t really want to mess on my books in which I keep them neat and tidy at all times but the ‘red ink’ thing doesn’t really affecting my way of keeping them in good condition.

    Anyway, thanx again for sharing. But honestly it really does looks fancy though! Keep on reading those books (especially Murakami’s) !! πŸ™‚


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  39. I went to a lecture/reading that John Green did recently at Butler University. I fell in love with him instantly when he said that he had spoken to his father a few hours before and his dad had corrected him, saying “I don’t think you’re speaking at Clowes Hall. That’s a really big auditorium. You’re probably in Atherton (a much, much smaller hall).” I thought that anyone whose father is so unaware of his son’s popularity must be a really grounded person. And then he read a bit from TFIOS. OMG! I can’t wait to read it. I loved An Abundance of Katherines and am now wondering why I haven’t read any of his other books. BTW, I’m not an adolescent. I’m way, way, older than that with children who are now adults. In short, John Green is awesome!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  40. I think this is one of the most significant info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The site style is perfect, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

  41. Hey there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  42. Pingback: That Green Gentleman | Ocean Owl

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