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If you are part of the book community, then perhaps you tab and annotate your books. Recently, I have taken up tabbing my books and I quickly became obsessed with it. I have never been a fan of marking up my books with annotations in the margins or any highlighting, but I found tabs to be more practical. I noticed book tabbing and annotations on the ‘booktok’ side of TikTok. I became curious as to why people had so many tabs in their books. It has become my new favorite hobby on top of already reading.

Tabbing books is essentially when you insert any sticky note tabs on anything that strikes any feeling over you. Or more specifically, I use transparent tabs with only the end of it in color because I hate it when any part of the words is covered up by regular tabs. I know it probably sounds super dorky, but it really adds to your reading experience as a whole. As you are reading a book for the first time, you can put down a tab with anything that made you pause with emotion or really resonated with you as a person. 

You can organize each color of sticky note if you like but some people just tab anything without a real system. For instance, a pink tab can represent anything cute or romantic that you read while blue tabs are any scenes that made you sad. I think the cool thing about book tabs is the creativity that comes along with them. Each person is going to have a different system compared to someone else.

I found it really convenient to make a system for me personally because I love to go back into a book and find all the scenes that keep replaying in my mind so that I can reread them again. I honestly love rereading books so it is super fun to go back to a book and see all the different parts that I noticed and even add more tabs the second time around for anything new that sticks out to me. 

On a different note, I also use tabs for novels that I read for school, but I actually use the translucent Post-it notes so that I can write in the margins. I keep track of any thoughts I had that were better than actually writing in the margins. Plus, if I mess up, I can easily take them out and put a new one in. I found using these helped me keep track of all my thoughts for the book or characters for future use. I only insert notes in books that I read for school so that it is easier to discuss plot points or character arcs in lectures. It is also easier to go back and read my thoughts when I come back to them if I am writing a paper. It helps to bring in evidence and arguments that can relate back to my thesis.

When I read, I love to light a candle and get comfy with a blanket and immerse myself into the plot; and taking that extra step with adding tabs to wherever you like just adds to the fun. I highly suggest more people take up book tabbing — whether it be for school or personal books — because it only adds to the reading experience.

Jolene Fourth-year English and History double major, and pursuing a minor in professional writing at UC Davis.