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Any one know how to properly annotate a book?

always_diligentalways_diligent Posts: 7Registered User New Member
edited August 2009 in College Life
I have to read "How to Read Literature Like a Professor" for AP LIT., and I have to annotate it. I was not taught the proper way, so i was wondering if anyone knows. Please help summer's almost over:(

p.s. I'm new to this, so i apologize if i posted this in the wrong section.
Post edited by always_diligent on

Replies to: Any one know how to properly annotate a book?

  • what.cdwhat.cd Posts: 137Registered User Junior Member
    Google is your friend.
  • KidNovelistKidNovelist Posts: 581Registered User Member
    I wasn't taught either but from the meaning of the word annotate and I've read some annotated books. I suppose you just have to make notes or comments on some topics that are referred in that book.

    I've never read that book but I suppose one can annotate if there's a line "Symbolism is a key element in literature. It suggests to the readers an obscure meaning that may reveal ideas or important issues to the author." Underline or Highlight that and add Ie. In the Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne wear a letter "A" standing for Adulteress and the first letter of illegitimate child's father, Arthur Dimmesdale. OR some another book you've read that included that piece of information.

    LOL. I googled it and I found this www.palmyra.k12.nj.us - /summer09read/Professorassessment.pdf
  • always_diligentalways_diligent Posts: 7Registered User New Member
    thanks for your help.
  • what.cdwhat.cd Posts: 137Registered User Junior Member
    Yeah, it's from NJ anyway.
  • bicyclebicycle Posts: 59Registered User Junior Member
    You don't necessarily have to do what KidNovelist said. There isn't any outside "research" involved in annotating. All you really need to to is, as you read through the book, underline words/phrases/passages that strike you as important. If what you read reminds you of something (from earlier in the book or otherwise), write that down too. Since "How to Read Literature..." is non-fiction, this doesn't really apply, but generally you want to make note of themes etc.

    The basic idea behind annotating is making it easy for you to go back later and easily find important parts or quotes/themes you might want to use in an essay. There's no formal way to do it, at least that I know of.
  • GammaGrozzaGammaGrozza Posts: 431Registered User Member
    Your teacher wants you to annotate while reading a book probably discussing, among other things, how to annotate? lol.

    Anyways, in this text, there will presumably be more important sections/lines than others (think quotable quotes that, alltogether, gives an ignorant a good idea of what the book is about). At these moments, you can star, highlight, take notes, bend the corner, etc.

    What I do for fiction and nonfiction is underline kinda important stuff. I star what I think is important stuff (generally once every couple pages, with occasional high frequency starring in like hugely important sections). If a page has multiple stars, or if the star is uber important, I'll consider bending the page corner. Generally this happens every 15-20 pages or so. If I plan on reading a text twice, I'll reserve the second time for annotations, as that way I will not only have a better understanding of the general text (and thus what is more important) by my second read, but I will recognize finer details and also my first read will be cleanlier due to a lack of annotations.
  • arabrabarabrab Posts: 4,682Registered User Senior Member
    At our H.S. students are usually given a purpose for annotations. So, you might annotate for:
    - characterization
    - symbols
    - motifs
    - themes
    - language (as in how the writer uses language)
    - foreshadowing
    - structure

    In the case of a non-fiction book that is not a memoir, you might try annotating for themes.

    Some teachers also look to see whether you've annotated vocabulary that you aren't likely to know, though sometimes they do that via a quiz.

    You might also try sending the teacher a quick note by email to ask for what you should be annotating in the case of this particular book.
  • LimaLima Posts: 352Registered User Junior Member
    In fiction, annotating is when you make note of symbolism, alliteration, synecdoche, and other rhetorical devices in the text. The purpose of this is generally so you can make specific references during a formal critical discussion. Same goes for written rhetorical argument; you make note of the "tools" the author uses to prove his/her point. (This can be done in a number of ways--senior year I devised a complicated code system that involved ripping certain pages and writing letters in the corners of pages.)

    But I'm not sure how you'd annotate a book that's neither fiction nor rhetoric...
  • comiclovercomiclover Posts: 685Registered User Member
    I can't believe people are googling for other people who need to do the googling. =/
  • GammaGrozzaGammaGrozza Posts: 431Registered User Member
    @Lima: To jump in regarding your use of ellipses, I can't think of any semi-reputable nonfiction text where rhetoric isn't considered (at the least subliminally).

    Like a book solely containing compiled google-image pictures? On first glance, one may think that the author of this uses no rhetorical tools. But, is there a theme (intentional or not) behind the pictures. Does the author have a bias towards selection? What is the author trying to accomplish overall with these specific pictures? Even if the pictures are selected at random, why does the author want this to be so?

    Everything is an argument (which is also the name of the "textbook" for my AP language class).

    Even here, I'm using rhetorical questions, a textual reference and AP class reference for ethos, and a logos appeal (hopefully) with my example. There is also probably some finer rhetoric I use that I'm not getting at.

    I could be wrong here. But this "range of argument types" idea is what I was taught a couple years back (now I'm debasing my ethos so I don't sound like a know-it-all; a surprisingly common method in some nonfiction stuff I've read).

    And why you would use a code for annotating? Annotating is complex and annoying enough already :(.
  • ds1018ds1018 Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    One of the best guides to annotating: :: Resources for Writers ::

    Also, read Francine Prose's Book, Reading Like A Writer Amazon.com: Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.) (9780060777050): Francine Prose: Books

    and finally,for examples, here are annotations of novels and short story collections Annotation Nation
  • srunnisrunni Posts: 768Registered User Member
    I think this is what you're looking for…
  • bdmet2491bdmet2491 Posts: 438Registered User Member
    No I do not, but thank you for asking
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