Since I can remember in elementary school, I have always loved to read. I was mesmerized with the way a book could submerge you into the life of a fictional or real character and make it feel like you were living in a whole new world. Some of my best memories of elementary school involve reading: the first chapter book I read, the first book I finished in a day, (a Geronimo Stilton Book) the first series I was obsessed with, ("Percy Jackson") and school book fairs. I was always the kid that would bring in a full reading log to class to get the rewards certificate to Pizza Hut.
As I entered middle school and eventually high school, this all changed. In middle school, I was introduced to the idea of annotating. Annotating is when you are forced to mark a book, adding notes or commentary to show that you read the text instead of just the summary on SparkNotes or Shoomp. This simple task not only ruined the look of the book, covering it in black pen marks and neon yellow highlighter, but due to these comments, the book became nearly impossible to reread or share with other people.
One of my favorite things about literature has always been how each person will perceive a sentence and the whole book differently. This is why I have always loved to share books I enjoy with friends and gauge their reactions to the work. When a novel is annotated, this can no longer be done due to the invasive nature of annotations. Annotations distract a reader from the text — littering it with the opinions of a third party rather than those of the reader.
Not only did the annotating ruin the book's re-usability, the task took the fun out of reading. When looking for certain features in a text, I stopped following the characters and storyline and starting searching for quick, hot words to satisfy my teacher's demands of annotations. I am already a really slow reader and without being able to follow the story, I often had to read paragraphs over and over again trying to comprehend their meaning. This added hours I did not have to a task that I did not really want to do. Reading stopped being a fun escape where my reality would become intertwined with that of the characters and instead another boring and time-consuming chore to do. My favorite thing has turned into one of my least, and I wish it weren't that way.