How to Mark A Book by Mortimer Adler (1940)

The article “How to Mark A Book”,  written by Mortimer Adler, appeared in Saturday Review in 1940.  This post is by my first guest reviewer — my mom!  This is a draft.

Not to engage in the pursuit of ideas is to live like ants instead of like men.
Mortimer Adler

Hi, Blanca,

I sort of went through the paper you gave me on “How to Mark A Book.”

The author, as I see it, would like for every reader to ingest the written word of a book.  Of course, that applies to any book worth reading.  So who decidees?  Current book reviews, hurried scanning through the book, or take it personally that if you are a true lover of books, you have to stop reading and mark up the book with your notes or, as he says, write your notes on pieces of paper and attach them to the front or back of the book.  I don’t think this will relate to the particular written words referenced inthe note unless you go further and write in the page and line numbers.

As for ingesting the written words, like bathing in print, I do not think it applies in a general sense because nowadays there is so much smut and pornography, cuss words and violence written about it, besides in the movies ,that the younger generation is liable to confuse or assimilate this type of written work as gospel and reere the author of such writings, not just books, but movies, plays, skits — you name it.

On the other hand, it appears to be so self-serving, to suggest or indicate that he, the reader, can critique the authro’s writing and write notes with hiw own beliefs.  If he feels he is so qualified, why not write your own story and me, you, o ranybody else critique his writings, such as I am doing here as to Mr. Adler’s beliefs.

Enough.  I think Mr. Adler is largely self-serving in painting a picture of a true book owner/reader.  I love books.  I love to read them for the pleasure of the story and once read I can put it out of my mind.  True, I don’t read WAR AND PEACE or epics to show how much I love books, but I treasure the written words that make me feel joy and happy to be able to read a book at my age of eighty.

All in all, as a lover of books, I would never write on or turn the corner of a page or mark on a page of a book to show that I understood what the author was talking about or as a mode of criticism of the author’s writing, ideas, or thoughts.  If I had to write notes of my conclusions drawn from the author’s writings and mark them in the book itself, I would certainly inflate my ego thinking I so loved the book that I would mar the contents and spoil the author’s intentions.

Those are my feelings.  Love you.  Mom Anna.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on The Festering Blurb:Bursting Open w/Pungent Prose and commented:

    You get a highlighter and/or a pen. Then you write in the book. It ain’t rocket surgery. C’mon people.

    Reply

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