Turns Out Writing in a Book is Pretty Fun! (warning: Harry Potter #1 spoilers)

Names of the bloggers who annotated Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

I signed up to be part of a “transatlantic book project” with a few other bloggers. Two books were sent around to different bloggers, who then read and annotated them, before passing them on to the next person.

To some people, writing in a book just feels wrong wrong wrong. I’ve never written in my own books before. I’d feel like I was “ruining” them. But it turns out, writing in books for this project was really, really fun—particularly when we passed around Harry Potter.

Cover of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

The coolest part about writing in Harry Potter was reading everyone else’s comments. It was almost like having a bookish discussion with a bunch of friends. On some pages, our comments completely filled the margins and took up every ounce of available space.

"The Mirror of Erised" chapter heading with annotations

We laughed at funny scenes, asked some big questions (“is there really only one bank for all the wizards?”), and just generally had fun together. It was fun to read what other people were thinking and be able to respond.

I’m not sure if I’ll suddenly be writing in all my books, but doing a group annotation is something I’d definitely do again!

Have you ever written in your books? Or done a big group read/annotation like this?

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. Never never never write in your books, it’s just wrong!!! … but for some reason I really want to dig out my Harry Potter books and put notes in them now! LOL I have never written in any of my books and probably never will, but this little project that you were involved in sounds like so much fun! It would be awesome to read everyone’s notes and thoughts. Very cool idea! Love it!

  2. How fun! I keep meaning to borrow a book from my local library to do this with… they have a program where they use ARCs and let people write in the margins. I really should try getting my hands on one soon. This looks so fun!

    I’d also love to take a peak at this book to see what you all wrote. 🙂 I’d love to be a part of this type of thing if it happens again.

    1. Wow that is such a cool program!!

      Sadly I’ve already passed the book onto the next person, so no more pictures from me. 🙁 I should have taken more!

  3. This project sounds like a lot of fun, Ashley! But apart from books I read for school, I don’t annotate my books (at least 98% of the time)… I have annotated some, though, but this is why I prefer to read the kindle version of a book, and then, if I really enjoy it, I’ll get a physical copy for my shelves – but that kind of has to be in pristine condition 😀

  4. I love this! This is incredible. I’m actually dying to read this annotated Harry Potter XD.

    I do not write in my books, that is sacrilegious. I couldn’t. Also, I wouldn’t know what to write! I envy people who take notes while they read, I couldn’t do that either because it would disrupt my flow, ditto people who updated GoodReads with proper statuses, or live-Tweet a book, I just wouldn’t be able to settle into the book properly, if I stopped to write/tweet/update GR every few pages.

    That comment about Fred & George hitting Voldemort with snowballs is SO TRUE, THO.

  5. This is so fantastic in so many ways! I love the idea of having a travelling book – particularly with a group of close friends. That said, I haven’t made notes in the margins of a book in years. Might just need to start doing that for myself, to get back in the habit of putting all my thoughts and questions and favorite bits on paper!

  6. Interestingly, when I was 8 years old (or whatever age I was when the first HP book came out), I did write in it. I do not know why, but I just had to. I do not even write in my textbooks! This project certainly looked fun, and would be an exception for me. Whoever thought of this is genius!

  7. That sounds like so much fun. I underline in books, though I generally don’t write in them. This sounds, though, like an elaborate sort of penpal 🙂

    1. That’s very cool! I’ve heard about authors annotating books but never actually owned one like that. 🙂

  8. I’ve never given in to the urge…but I can see the appeal…specifically if you have two copies..one all nice and clean and one for notes and doodles.

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