Thursday, October 16, 2014

Recording Meaningful Passages

The only 2014 resolution I've stuck with is to read more books this year. I know it's vague wording, but I just started my 48th book (but who's counting?) so I'm considering this a success. I think I can hit 55 by the end of the year if I work hard neglecting my kids. ;-)

I bought a notebook when I was roughly 11 years old that was really special to me as I started writing down quotes that I heard in church, read in books, etc. I've kept that tradition for many years and although my 27 year old self would rather have a different notebook, I'm sticking with the one that spoke to my 11 year old self. I'm surprised how often I look through this notebook looking for some kind of inspiration, something to make me smile or just motivation to be a better human. Knowing that everything in this notebook impacted me at some point in my life over the last 16 years makes it one of my most treasured items.

Here's one tip I've picked up along the way that helps me record the meaningful passages in the books I've read.

99% of the time, I'm reading a book from the library. Since I can't highlight or write in the margins (or copy and paste), this is what I do: when I come across a passage that is meaningful or even just a well-written passage, I dog-ear the BOTTOM corner of the page that the quote is on (sorry, library!). Then, once I've finished the book, I take about 10-15 minutes to go through the pages I've dog-eared and find the quote that meant something to me and transcribe it into my notebook.

Some books I don't dog-ear anything. Some books I'm dog-earing nearly every page! (hello, Brene Brown!) There's no pressure to fill up the notebook or make sure every book has something meaningful. Some books are just fluff and that is OK.

Someday I may turn this notebook into something else like a blurb book. But for now, I like my old school notebook. And I love seeing how my handwriting has evolved! (Thanks to computers and iPhones, I'm afraid it's getting worse at a fast rate!)

If you're curious, the books that have the most quotes written down in my notebook (and, therefore have probably impacted me the most):

  • Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • Carry On Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed, Glennon Doyle Melton
  • Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
  • East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

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