1. Do you write your name, or just initials?
2. Do you write the full date, or just the year? Do you write the date when you bought the book, or when you finished reading it?
And more importantly,
3. On what page do you put your inscriptions? Why?
I bought some second-hand books recently, and some of them have inscriptions. I love it! I love the (imagined) story behind it, I love thinking about what the book has been through, how far it has traveled, what the previous owner was like. I love the fact that over time I will add my own history to that book.
In browsing my own books at home, I have noticed that I am prone to listing down my nickname and the exact date when I bought the book on the second title page (where it has the author's name and the title in bigger font), on the upper right-hand corner. I have never really thought about it until now, but it must have been a habit ever since I was younger.
The only explanation I can think of is: I write my nickname because my whole name is too long, and initials seem too short (although mysterious). I like seeing my name there on the same page as the author's. Kinda like making a connection somehow, sharing a moment, having tea, being introduced to each other at a friend's dinner.
Sometimes when I have reread a book, I put in a new date when I've finished it. Maybe a few words in a parenthesis, what I was feeling at the time. One of my friends write the location of where she bought the book, what she was doing at the time, who she was with. I've been meaning to do that, too, but haven't decided yet where to write them - on the inside of the cover, perhaps? I know that some people write on the first blank page
their messages when giving books as a gift.
Where do you write yours? And what do you write? And what is the reason behind it?
And oh, another thing I am actually worried about: in the case of getting old books autographed, do you think authors get pissed or annoyed to find the name of the owner on the same page where they will sign it? Should I leave that page alone for future encounters with elusive signatures, and find another page to put my inscriptions in?
P.S. Yes I am also guilty of marginalia but that is a discussion for another time :)