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The Marginalia Controversy

What a topic. People will get MAD about this, but they’re all wrong. Only I’m right, so listen to me. Don’t tell me where you land. People I very nearly respect believe in writing in books. But let’s actually talk about this, book lover to book lover.

Marginalia used to mean really crazy drawings around hand illuminated passages from really crazy books. And all those snails. Look it up, what weird stuff.

Image via Twitter

 

Me either, medieval knight. These days, margin notes are mostly something students do to try and avoid losing their minds. And maybe pass some tests/write some essays. I know very few people who DON’T write in their books. Some of them underline on the subway. It’s horrifying to see. The lines are so inconsistent. Half of the quote is always crossed out. It’s a horror movie. I don’t have photos. I try not to even look. But here’s an example of some notes that are still better.

Image via Columbia University Libraries Blog

 

At least these are color coded, though that one crossed out quote makes my blood run cold. It’s a mess. different sizes of notes, undecipherable handwriting, a ton of stuff is covered, but does that mean margin notes are bad? Yes! They’re always bad! Listen. Past me didn’t know anything. And past you didn’t either! If I don’t like the book I’ll give it away, and that’s just rude. If I do like it, why would I want it written on forever? When I read that book, if it was for school, I definitely hadn’t slept. The writing probably IS messy. I probably DID write it on the subway. Also, most of my notes probably aren’t interesting, aren’t smart, and don’t make any sense.

Image result for book with margin notes
Image via Entropy

 

An actual photo of my hypothetical margin notes. I joke! Who would just use red? But my point is, I would want to throw this away the SECOND I finished the essay. And you should never throw away books. Recycle them! I’m joking. Please don’t do that either. But if I take notes on another page, or on a post-it? They’re GONE. I never, ever have to see what I thought about Hamlet when I was a freshman.

Image result for book with pencil margin notes
Image via Research Teacher

 

I’ve been talking about margin notes you can never get rid of, in pen, but pencil is SO much worse. It’s worse! It’s messier, it’ll smudge like crazy, they can’t be color coded, and are they really erasable? Consider it. Maybe you’ve got a good eraser, and you’re going to be careful, but you’ll have swathes of fuzzy, muted text, with the inscrutable indents where the writing used to be. It’s time consuming and ridiculous, and it makes me angry.

Image result for book margin notes post its
Image via Colleen’s Blog

 

Notes should always be on tabs. Always! There are so many benefits. How do you know where your margin notes are? How do you know? Just flip through every single page until you see something smart? If you write on a sticker, you can leave it poking out. Want to pull a quote? Just check all the tabs you left above good pull quotes. You’re organized. You’re in and out. Color code. Live your best life. Just don’t write in books.

Image result for tabbed books
Image via Books Are Friends, Not Food

 

 

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Featured image via Let’s Do

3 Most Beautiful Book Cafes in the World

Like anyone, I like a good book cafe a lot. A lot a lot. And I’m lucky to live near some great ones. But unfortunately, I don’t live near any of these wonders.

 

El Ateneo Grand Splendid – Buenos Aires

 

Image via The Bubble

 

This cafe is built in an old theatre, now filled to the brim with books. The cafe is on the stage, so you’re the star drinking your coffee. The ceiling is packed with original frescoes, and the stage used to host tango, and then the first sound films shown in Buenos Aires. Now, feel like an ingenue from the theatre’s building in 1919, leaning off the balconies and looking at the books.

 

 

Yenny El ateneo – Mexico City

 

Image via Atlas Obscura

 

Do you like books? Do you like plants? Check out this gorgeous bookstore in Mexico City. Vaguely deco, and packed with books, this honestly looks the way I want my house to. Who cares about the walls? They’re covered in books anyway. #goals. Anyway, gotta plan a visit ASAP, with an empty suitcase for all my MISTAKES.

 

 

Lotz-Terem – Budapest

 

Image via Dauly News Hungary

 

Unfortunately this is no longer a bookstore, but the space does still involve digital media, and a cafe. They also redid a lot of it, which is unfortunate, but we can respect bookstores we’ve lost. Just look at that ceiling! *sigh* RIP bookstore cafe. Look at those chandeliers. Ten out of ten, would have bought a book and read here for hours.

 

 

Image via McDaniel College Budapest 

The Library Made of Books

Libraries are some of the best places on earth. The quiet, the smell of old books, the nap corners. Maybe that’s just me. But regardless of why you love them, libraries are great for everybody. I love any branch, but some libraries take it a step further (or like a hundred steps). Take the central branch of the Kansas City Library in Kansas City Missouri, which is, in fact, made of giant books.

Image via Flickr

 

Okay, so it’s not really made of books, they probably don’t open, but the library is open seven days a week. But the library’s beauty doesn’t stop there. Books are featured on the inside too, as they should be. I like a dark, labyrinthine space as much as anyone, but this library goes another direction entirely, as it does on the outside.

Image via Kansas City Public Library

 

Aesthetics on point, books on point, and a lot of services to help the local community. Obviously the decor is enough to lure in any book lover, but not only is this an excellent building and an excellent library, it also offers a long list of additional resources for visitors. Dozens of computers, wifi, video conferencing, study rooms, event spaces, and more.

Image via Architecture Magazine

 

When someone broke this news on Tumblr (this might be generous – the central part of the building is historic), someone actually in Kansas City did us all a solid and went by, taking photos and investigating services. You can read the entire saga here. If you’re in Kansas City, stop by. The rest of us are jealous.

 

 

Featured image via Reader’s Digest