Hi tumblr. This is Rory.
I blog here today to tell you a little bit about my most prized possession, which is pictured in the photoset above (and picture at the bottom of this post as well), my copy of John Green’s novel Paper Towns.
Any copy of Paper Towns is a thing of beauty, but the reason that my copy is my most prized possession is not because it’s my favourite book - though it is (tied with Good Omens, of course) - but because of what this copy itself has become over time.
This copy is referred to by me and my friends as The Annotated Paper Towns, due to, well, the fact that it’s annotated. It all started about two years ago when I highlighted and added in verse numbers to the page where the stanzas from Leaves of Grass are, and it spiraled from there. Everyone who’s read it has highlighted, underlined, and added notes, some standalone, some conversing with other readers, some deep and philosophical, some silly. There are recommendations for music to listen to to accompany certain passages, crossreference notes redirecting the reader to other parts of the book, even the lyrics to a parody song stapled into the back cover. Not a single doublepage spread is without some sort of annotation.
Normally, I’m against writing in books. But this isn’t just writing in the book. Reading the Annotated Paper Towns, you not only learn things about yourself and the characters, from John’s original text, but about the other readers. There are glimpses of my friends and their friends and their parents, all with their own opinions and emotions and life experiences, on every page. It’s always seemed like my own private little Nerdfighter phenomenon, and I’ve always wished I could somehow share my book with everyone in Nerdfighteria - of course, that’s not possible for a number of reasons, but whatever. Reading this book feels like I’m spending time with my friends and their most profound thoughts, and hilarious ones, for that matter. I’ve been thinking a lot about it recently, because I’m rereading it, and because it’s one of only a small box of books I’m taking with me to college in a month, and I think that this book, more than anything else I own, is what’s going to keep me from getting too homesick. Any time I’m missing home, I can just open it up, and step right into a big room full of my friends, all talking and laughing over each other.
Explaining how much this book means to me, and how amazing it is to read is kind of impossible. But I figured that tumblr is the place for sharing what you love, and there are few things I love as much as The Annotated Paper Towns.