L’inizio del saggio:
“You know you have to read “between the lines” to get the
most out of anything. I want to persuade you to do something
equally important in the course of your reading. I want to persuade
you to “write between the lines.” Unless you do, you are not likely to
do the most efficient kind of reading.
I contend, quite bluntly, that marking up a book is not an act
of mutilation but of love.
You shouldn’t mark up a book which isn’t yours. Librarians
(or your friends) who lend you books expect you to keep them clean,
and you should. If you decide that I am right about the usefulness of
marking books, you will have to buy them. Most of the world’s great
books are available today, in reprint editions, at less than a dollar.
There are two ways in which one can own a book. The first is
the property right you establish by paying for it, just as you pay for
clothes and furniture. But this act of purchase is only the prelude to
possession. Full ownership comes only when you have made it a part
of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it is by
writing in it. An illustration may make the point clear. You buy a
beefsteak and transfer it from the butcher’s icebox to your own. But
you do not own the beefsteak in the most important sense until you
consume it and get it into your bloodstream. I am arguing that books,
too, must be absorbed in your bloodstream to do you any good.”