|A determined reader catches a long-buried|
nuance in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Right now I'm reading Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, the book I selected for my MFA workshop to read as instructional for my work. (I didn't have the courage to go with The Princess Bride, and besides, I do like Calvino, and besides again, I think I honestly couldn't handle people rejecting The Princess Bride in front of me.) I bought Invisible Cities for a college history/humanities colloquium on "Imagined Worlds," used. There's super-light pencil marks in the margins; I can't figure out whether I made them or Mike made them or someone before us made them. What's strange, though, is that every time I stop on a passage (most often trying to note for myself ways of mixing concrete with abstract, and separating concrete from abstract, which are my big problems with the book I'm working on for my thesis), it's one that's already been underlined or called out somehow in the margin. There's nothing written, so I have no clue as to what the notetaker thought was interesting or important about the passages he/she chose to mark. It's strange, then, that they're turning out to be so relevant to me under what I presume are vastly different circumstances.
How do you all approach writing in books? Is it more physical habit, or intellectual exercise? Do your notes make sense to you later?