Tuesday, August 17, 2010


My title is the self-same title of David Warren's recent column, in which he quips:

In general, I favour capital punishment for people who put marks in books. They'd be easy to catch, for almost all put their marks on only the first few pages. The effort of defacement seems itself to exhaust them, so that they seldom make it to the end of a long preface.

I've recently been immersed in a shallow vice: Star Wars novels.  There are at least 275 of them, and I've maybe worked my way through twelve so far.  It's a daunting task.

I had to laugh when in one of these tomes I encountered frequent use of a highlighter on some of the more profound thoughts.  "Evil is as evil does" is but one example.

I know that truth is truth, no matter where it's found.  But the poor chap who found inspiration in a Star Wars novel must really crack open a Chesterton essay or some C. S. Lewis; there is much deeper thought contained in their works - even in their fiction.


  1. I know one fellow who only buys books that have been marked up. He only reads the marked portions - therefore saving a lot of time as someone else has already identified the gems amoungst the overburden.

  2. The only problem with that is that the wisdom revealed for one reader isn't always the wisdom the next reader needs to hear. I personally find markings from previous readers to be quite distracting.

  3. better mark up the first few pages than tear our the last!

  4. I suppose that is technically better. I once ordered a used book on Amazon and half of the prologue was missing. The good news was, the prologue was not a necessary component of the book, and the seller refunded me 100% of what I paid for the book when I provided that feedback.

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  6. Like you wrote about the "poor chap" finding inspiration in a Star Wars novel needing to 'crack open a Chesterton essay,' etc. Star Wars has nothing on Narnia or LOTR! I would also suggest that that 'poor chap' or anyone else procures a copy of The Ballad of the White Horse, Chesterton's BRILLIANT and SUPERB epic poem, which is quite SUPERIOR to George Lucas's anything and all "Lucas wannabes" their many and contrived literary efforts.

    I deleted my comment and now re-posting, as I'd forgotten to 'proofread' earlier. I see all is copacetic. Cool beans.


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