We’ve talked about writing notes in the margins of books quite a bit on FWR, but what if you want to keep track of those notes over the long term, or share those notes with other people? Noting:books can help you do just that. Says the site:
Noting:books is a collection of microblogs (“notebooks”) — individual readers tracking the books they’ve read and noting their thoughts. You can look through any person’s notebook, or you can look at the page for any book to see everyone’s notes on it. […]
To start your own notebook, all you need to do is register. A notebook has three primary parts: your chronological list of reading notes, your reading history (a complete list of titles and dates, organized by year, with links to your notes on each book), and a to-be-read list.
The service is free, and browsing the site is a fun exercise in readerly voyeurism. A few recent notes:
From gerard on James Meek: We Are Now Beginning Our Descent
The best-written novel (thriller?) to come out of our attempt at colonising Afghanistan.
Like all of us, Meek has a few failures, but when he’s successful, he’s good. Well worth reading.
From bevwinchester on The Elegance of the Hedgehog: I am still wading through this book; stopped along the way to read Follett’s Fall of Giants & Cutting for Stone, both of which I enjoyed tremendously! But it’s kinda become a quest to finish Hedgehog.
The idea of a virtual, shared running commentary is what makes Noting:books such a neat idea. In fact, it sounds a bit like the vision Sam Anderson describes in his riff on marginalia in the New York Times:
Last month, Amazon announced what could be a landmark in electronic marginalia: public note sharing for the Kindle — Coleridgean fantasy software that will make your friends’ notes appear (if you want them to) directly on your own books. This is exciting but still a few leaps away from my ultimate fantasy of e-marginalia: the ability to import not just your friends’ notes but notes from all of history’s most interesting book markers. […] You could even “subscribe” to your favorite critic’s marginalia — get, say, one thoroughly marked-up digital book every month. Or, if you preferred to keep it contemporary, you could just read along with your friends in an endless virtual book club — their notes and your notes would show up on one another’s e-readers the moment they were made.
Could Noting:books be one way to make that fantasy into reality?