Well Marked

A couple of weeks ago, Nigel Beale posted some tips from Mortimer Adler on ‘How to Mark Your Books “Fruitfully and Intelligently.”‘ The recommendations sounded pretty familiar, though understandably there’s no mention of my own must-have accessory, the Post-It Note. I think anyone who teaches literature has to get over any initial reservations about making a mess on the page; a large part of what we want to convey to our students is that reading is an active process, for one thing, and writing on the text is one way to make sure you are actually engaging with it. Textual annotations can also serve as prompts and guides for lecture and discussion. As someone who mostly teaches ‘loose baggy monsters,’ I also feel that one of my primary responsibilities is just being able to find important passages to help students make their observations and analyses specific. Herewith, some samples of a well-used teaching copy of Middlemarch, marked up Maitzen style.

First, the Big Picture Post-It Index and Finder’s Guide.

Next, the Inside Cover Index to Essential Information:

Here’s a sample of a key passage annotated for teaching point of view and free indirect discourse:

And a sample of a Cross-Referencing Post-It–probably the most important kind (it’s blue because it marks the blue-green boudoir passages, of course!):

Here’s this year’s Post-It opus:

See how you can track Jo through the novel? And the hot pink tabs point to the clues to Lady Dedlock’s past. Hmmm. It starts to look a little obsessive, doesn’t it?


Summer Reading 2014

1. Julie James, It Happened One Wedding
2. Dorothy Dunnett, King Hereafter
3. Miriam Toews, All My Puny Sorrows
4. Elizabeth George, Just One Evil Act
5. Dorothy Dunnett, Niccolo Rising
6. Elena Ferrante, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
7. Zoe Ferraris, Finding Nouf
8. Georgette Heyer, Friday's Child
9. Ellis Peters, A Morbid Taste for Bones
10. Charlotte Bronte, Villette
11. Sue Grafton, W is for Wasted
In progress: Tremain, Music and Silence

1. Judy Blume, Forever
2. Rob Thomas, Veronica Mars, an original mystery
3. John Green, Paper Towns
4. Judy Blume, Then Again Maybe I Won't
5. Sarah Dessen, Dreamland
In progress: Wilson, Diamond

Blog Archive


Currently Reading


Comments Policy

Comments that contribute civilly and constructively to discussion of the topics raised on this blog, from any point of view, are welcome. Comments that are not civil or constructive will be deleted.

All entries copyright Rohan Maitzen. If you use material from this blog, please give proper credit to the author.