Pencils in the Forest

Deep Reading, Great Openings, Inigo's Inquiries

Early this morning, I found a copy of Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation on Michael’s desk, and while irregular snores could be heard from his bed chamber, I took the chance to examine it. I was rather shocked when I found the inside had been brutally transformed into property, forever marking it as one reader’s territory: Whether any of these notes are insightful at all, I cannot say, because I can’t decipher them. But I’ve watched Michael scribbling into books with a pencil before; he usually falls asleep immediately after it, so I guess it’s pretty exhausting and/or gratifying. I, however, also think it is brutalizing and snobbish. In any case, I thought I should share this as a warning for all those who consider taking up a pencil and leaving their marks too: Once you do, your books, no matter how unchanged they may appear on the outside, will cease to be pristine forests to explore. You will leave your equipment rusting all over the place, and readers who come after you won’t know what to do with it.

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