Underlined text: What does it suggest?

Yesterday I got a book from the library. In the night around the bedtime I started reading the book. The book was newly procured so the experience of keeping it in hands and flipping through its pages was really nice. The content of the book was interesting as well. But just a few pages later I found that somebody had already underlined different paragraphs and the book was more like a graffiti site. I was pissed off to the core. I wanted to find this guy to scold him for his doing. But then there was nothing which I could have really done. I didn’t know who was he and also it wasn’t my priority either. So I had to leave this thought.

Interestingly while going through the text I realized that the mannerism of reading a book is devoid of any personal touch. It is more evident especially when the ownership of the book is with a community or an institution. You can borrow the book but you had to return it in a condition as it was never issued to anyone. How could this be possible? How can we expect everyone to be the same and then either reward them or punish them if they deviate from this expectation. Also it is often seen that the reader doesn’t underline each and every line in the book. Instead he underlines few very specific portions of the text. And if a book can be taken as a medium where an author tries to talk to his reader than perhaps these specific portions (now underlined) of the text are the moments when this talk becomes most intense. Would it be reasonable to expect this communication to simply being a monologue one? Rather it seems that every time a reader marks a certain text with a graphite underline he tries to enter into a dialogue with the author. No matter whether the reader is in agreement with authors arguments or not but he surely tries to convey that the author has written something worth listening in those lines.


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