Have you ever tried writing notes in the margins of one of those tiny pocketbooks? You know the ones I'm talking about, the paperbacks that you can palm in your hand without a problem. They're great for travel and handing out to your students, but they're the worse type of book imaginable if you like to jot down notes for future teaching moments. I was watching this show on TV over winter break about how prisoners practice the ability to write tiny code messages on slips of paper. It's agonizing and painstaking work and even if I could write that small, I wouldn't have enough room in my books to contain all the things I'd like to jot down.
Tonight I was at the bookstore in search of a copy of Romeo and Juliet. I have one of those pocket copies as well as a copy of the play in a large anthology, but I didn't want to ruin my nice hardback by writing in it. The makers of cliffnotes actually have these rather large print books of the classics called CliffsComplete. They're fairly cheap and have some additional information, but what I love about them is the fact that the print is large enough that even your most nearsighted geriatric could read this thing from space. It's also paperback so I don't feel like I'm harming a beautiful thing by writing in it.
I get a little attached to my books. I loan them out to students and they come back to me well worn and well read. I cringe a little, but I'm also happy that they're reading at least.