On the Marking of Books

After a temporary hiatus, while we gave our website a fresh new look, the Well-Read Mom blog is back in action and registration is open for the Year of the Family!

From our relationships as sisters to the love family, we are celebrating ten years of Well-Read Mom.

Well-Read Mom has a beautiful year planned, full of good things. You won’t want to miss it. 

To start off our Ten Year Anniversary Celebration, we begin by sharing a special poem written by Well-Read Mom member, Tracey Finck. We know you will enjoy it as much as we do.

On the Marking of Books
by Tracey Finck

To mark or not to mark: that is the question. 
Whether ‘tis nobler to respect a book as someone else’s work of art 
or to possess it as one’s own by underlining, 
annotating in the margins.

To mark, to write—to write perchance in pen; ay, there’s the rub, 
for in defacing pages, lo, we risk 
not being able to resell the works on Marketplace; 
this gives us pause. 

And yet, to pause while reading, 
letting words make meaning in our minds,
linking thought to thought, the story to our lives,
and in taking up the pen to shape our own thoughts into words—
this makes of books a source of life
and to our future selves can bring remembrance
of words both beautiful and strong.
Clues, page numbers, scribbled on the inside of back covers 
may one day lead us back 
to scenes and episodes, to themes and characters.
Like returning to a favorite place, a garden or café, 
to breathe and sip, to take it in again,
we take in once again the lines, 
the light, 
the life.

These self-made marks are maps recording where our minds have been,
and signposts so that we can find our way back there again. 
Not only that, but future readers—
perhaps a granddaughter, perhaps a browser in a second-hand bookshop 
may find this well-marked copy and join the conversation,  
glad for the company along her reading journey and for the inspiration.

For our Tenth Anniversary, the reading list put together by Well-Read Mom will be reflecting on the theme of family. When Well-Read Mom began, we desired to create a place for women, not to escape from family life and work, but to experience a kind of leisure through friendship and literature so that women could return to their lives with a renewed vision and vigor. By reading books together, we help sustain a tradition of reading, which is a gift not only to our families but to the world. We hope you’ll join Well-Read Mom for our Year of the Family. Find out more here.

Interested in contributing to the Well-Read Mom blog, contact us

Tracey Finck is a writer/editor and also teaches at North Central University in Minneapolis. She holds an M.A. in English education from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. She’s the author of Love Letters to a Child: A Resource for Parents And Grandparents. Tracey and her husband are empty-nesters living in Princeton, Minnesota.

The poem, On the Marking of Books, is copyright protected and used with permission. Copyright © 2021 Tracey Finck. All right reserved.

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