#19 The Sacrilege of Annotating Books (#24)

This morning I finished my 24th read of 2015, #19 A book based on a true story, in the 2015 Reading Challenge: “More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops” by Jen Campbell. This is a series of apparently true comments made by customers, either to fellow customers or to booksellers in bookstores worldwide. I have absolutely no idea where I heard about this book, but I thought the premise sounded fun and quirky, so I picked up a hardly used copy on eBay.

A couple of days ago I watched a YouTube video by one of my favourite booktubers, Ariel Bissett, who was discussing the sacrilege (or lack of it) of annotating your books. I am actively opposed to this process, except in circumstances in which it is deemed necessary, such as for a literature class, but I decided this was the perfect time to go against my opinions, and annotate “More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops”.

I’m equally surprised and thrilled to say that I loved it. I now have a record of quotes I loved, and some comments on those I felt were worthy. I’m not saying that it will become common practice for me to write in my books (there’s not even the remotest chance it would happen in a first edition), but from time to time I may read a book that warrants such erratic behaviour.

My Goodreads Review
“This is a nonfiction book about, as is apparent in the title, weird things customers say in bookshops. This little book was hilarious – it actually was laugh out loud funny at some points. I wonder how the booksellers managed to keep a straight face when posed with some of these questions! Notable comments include:

Customer: “I’d like to return this ‘Where’s Wally?’ book, please.”
Bookseller: “Why?”
Customer: “Because I’ve found him.”

Customer: “Tell me, is ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ still in print?”
Bookseller: “Yes, of course.”
Customer: “I wasn’t sure if they stopped printing it, you see – surely everyone has a copy by now?”

If you’re in the mood for a quick, lighthearted read, this is perfect.”


Since I completely went outside my comfort zone by annotating this book, it’s also worth noting that I have yet to read the previous book in this series, (shocker, I know), “Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops”, but fear not, I have ordered it, and I am planning on reading it in May, as a break from all the scary exam revision I’ll have to do!

#19 A book based on a true story – More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell (7/10)

Twenty-three down, twenty-seven to go. (Twenty-four read)

My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile

10 thoughts on “#19 The Sacrilege of Annotating Books (#24)

  1. My favorite true bookstore customer questions/comments:
    “How can the third Lord of the Rings book be out when the movie’s not finished filming yet?”
    “William Faulkner’s not dead. I saw him on Oprah yesterday!”
    “Do you have the Lynard Skynard Series of Unfortunate Events?” (To be fair, that would be an awesome name for a rock biography.)

    And my favorite:
    “Gandolf is a total ripoff of Dumbledore! JKR should sue, and take this Tolkien guy to court.”

    This book & review brings back memories. 🙂

  2. You’ve read 23 already! I have been doing the challenge since around end of January and have only managed a total of 9 books. I will be looking at your blog for recommendations, like this one, on the prompts that I haven’t read yet.

  3. A friend of mine sent me a copy of ‘As kingfishers catch fire’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins (one of the Penguin Little Black Classics http://www.penguinclassics.co.uk/books/as-kingfishers-catch-fire/9780141397849/) in the post, and annotated it, because it’s one of her favourites, and she wanted to point out everything she loves (which she would have done had I read it in her presence) and I felt it really added to my enjoyment. Also, have you seen you can get ghost-shaped see-through notes to use if you don’t want to annotate directly (http://www.fallindesign.com/ghost-see-through-sticky-memo-notes-40-sheets/)?

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