In Medias Res (IMR)

A Guide To Flagging Quotes While Reading

A while ago, ravenclawsam asked me what I meant when I said I flagged quotes while I read.

At first, I thought it was an easy question. While I read, if I came across something interesting, I stuck a sticky note so i could find it again later.

Turns out “interesting” has more than one definition. At first, I would flag quotes that seemed to have special meaning. Take this quote from Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda:

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But then it started to include lines that were particularly witty, like Dorian from Throne of Glass:

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And I love flagging character musings:

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Either way, I really like flagging my books when I read because it makes me more attentive. I pay attention to the writing style when I flag beautifully written sentences. I pay attention to the plot when I flag important scenes. I pay attention to character interactions when I flag conversations.

But the best part is when I go back and look at the passages that I flagged.

Ariel Bissett made this awesome video explaining why we should write in our books. She claims that when we write in books, we personalize them, allowing other people to understand our perspective when we read. And this is so important to me because the reader experience is so personal—it’s unique to the individual.

But I’m not going to start taking a pen to all of my books. I find that it would be distracting the next time I read.

But flagging my books means so much more to me because when I go back and see that I flagged the quote, I have to ask myself, Why?

I’m not telling future me why I thought the passage was awesome, I’m telling future me, “This is awesome.” And it’s up to me to figure out why.

I’m currently reading the Mistborn Trilogy and in the middle of Heroes of Ages, I went back to Mistborn to compare Vin and Elend’s character development.

But because I don’t write on the sticky notes, I had to flip through a majority of the flags to find the ones I wanted. In my attempt to find Vin and Elend, I found Spook speaking in street slang, Breeze explaining human emotions, Ham’s philosophical musings, Kelsier’s bravado, and Vin’s awesome combat skills. Sure, I got a little sidetracked, but for a good reason—all of those flags marked something I appreciated in the book.

Flagging books enriches my reading experience, and that’s why I love to do it.

But what about you guys? Let me know what reading habits you have in the comments below!

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7 thoughts on “A Guide To Flagging Quotes While Reading

  1. I can’t agree with writing in my books, they’re too sacred to me. But flagging is something I really wish I did. I never think of it until I’m flicking back through it trying to find a particular quote 😛 Question; do you just always have sticky notes with you? Or do you mostly read at home anyway?

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  2. I would really like to start flagging my books but I’m just never around tags around while reading. Also, I usually just get way too into the book to remember to tag anything tbh XD

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    1. Haha yeah I know what you mean, flagging definitely slows me down, but it also helps me pay attention. Besides, it’s a huge help later when I am looking fir a specific scene.

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    1. I chose flags because I thought they would be the least intrusive on the book. Dog ears and writing in books still makes me cringe :p

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