Midnight Pub

NoteTaking Navelgazing


Time for another mojito while navel gazing. /sip

I've been thinking about my reading and keeping organized about it. It is less of a big deal with fiction where either I finish or drop it quickly. Then mark it accordingly on storygraph (https://app.thestorygraph.com/).

But when I'm reading non-fiction, and I am reading more of it lately, its less of a one and done situation. I want to take notes, and then at a later date be able to add on further/linking discoveries, but where?

Digitally I suppose I can just use a website and make a webgarden kind of thing. Maybe on Neocities. While I like Storygraph in terms of keeping track of what I complete, I find keeping track of where I am/progress in it obnoxious.

Print is more difficult as I am too lazy to type everything out (I like big quotes). I could take pictures but they end up stuck on my phone. Again lazy so I won't transfer them. Maybe I should get a system for this? I just default to Google Drive but I am slowly getting away from it. I did just switch to proton for email so I'd have to pony up for the Drive feature... But I'm not against it so long as I double check my finances...

Physical books are super cozy so I don't think I'll give them up but maybe give just get fiction books from the library and digital for non-fiction? Although with Proton Drive I could add back in physical non fiction notes. But still not as easy as digital.

Do you have a preferred notetaking setup? Any recommendations on this front?

Do you like reading fiction/nonfiction? Any recommendations?


I read a lot in a e-reader (Kobo) mostly books from the library (I get the epub files).

I have two ways of taking notes:

1) I use Standard Notes to register my own notes about what I'm reading. If it's a fiction book, I'll usually take note of characters names, places, interesting plot points, etc. I do that specially for books that I'm reading for my book club. I add my overall thoughts after I finished as well. These notes are not complex or long at all, I usually add them using my phone while I'm reading.

2) While I'm reading I highlight quotes/paragraphs that I find interesting in my Kobo and after I'm done I extract them the using a plugin in Calibre, and copy and paste it into the same notes file I created in point 1. This is specially true for non fiction books. Sometimes I don't even bother extracting quotes from fiction books.

I'm currently re-reading a non-fiction about writing that is quite interesting: Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Great sci-fi series I'm enjoying: Planetfall Series by Emma Newman - 4 books set in the same universe that you can read in any order because each book is set in different places and timelines. It's sci-fi with touches of thriller, mystery, psychological themes, very engaging.



>While I'm reading I highlight quotes/paragraphs that I find interesting in my Kobo and after I'm done I extract them the using a plugin in Calibre,

Had no idea this is a thing! I have a kobo but it stopped updating... But maybe I'll play around with this.

I will checkout planetfall, I think I'm in the mood for something like this.



I think it should work on older Kobo's, if Calibre can recognize your device, you should be ok. This is where I found out how to do it: https://theaccountabilityblog.com/how-to-export-highlights-annotations-from-a-kobo-device/

For the Planetfall series, I'd only recommend reading "After Atlas (Planetfall #2)" before "Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4)" as these two books are the only ones that are very close together in terms of timeline (Atlas Alone is a close continuation of Atlas Alone). My reading order was:

- After Atlas (Planetfall #2)

- Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4)

- Planetfall (Planetfall #1)

- Before Mars (Planetfall #3)




I have different processes for notes on fiction and notes on essays.

For fictions, I like to note beautiful or touching quotes in a notebook. It's very nice to read them after a year or two, although some are just meaningless out of context. I don't need to refer to them or search in them so paper is good.

For essay, I take notes on my computer, because I want to be able to search, and connect notes. I use logseq, which is an outliner tool with bidirectional linking (local-based and free software). It's great for zettelkasten.

While we're doing reading recommendations :

The Dispossessed by Ursula le Guin is one of the best novel I've read. It's "political and social SF".



Thank you for your thoughts. The idea of keeping track of the touching quotes is something I should do.

logseq looks awesome. Surprised I haven't seen it when looking for note taking things.

Thanks for the recommendation.



I've become a better note-taker by going with a small notebook and a pen (I settled on the Uniball Jetstream after trying a bunch of different pens and pencils). I had to relearn how to write cursive, but after a few weeks it became easier and smoother and I didn't have to think about it much.

Analog note-taking engages a different part of your brain than fiddling around with tech. I find my thinking becomes more linear, my words more considered. It's probably slower, but the end product is more useful to me.

Latest non-fiction I really enjoyed: Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, by James C. Scott.



Oo, I do like stationery and pens.

I've seen people mention this, I will have to check it out.



Not my absolutely favorite authors, but I'd feel remiss in not adding that while thoroughly enjoying their stories, I felt I roughly quintupled my vocabulary reading John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates fiction decades ago.



Good to know! Thanks for the recs.



in terms of note-taking, really just journals. or the notes app, if a journal is too intimidating. i try not take it too seriously and mark down whatever observations or analyses that i think are formative or outstanding, and mash out whatever comes... if i'm scared i'm wrong or i'm missing something, i cross-reference, fill in the gaps, and do extended research horizontally. if i'm especially vigorous i'd make a schoolworthy artgame project based on the work, but that's not recommendable, because i'm a neurotic edge-case and should not be counted.

my favourite non-fiction is actually an article: A Spider, an Arab, and a Muslim Walk into a Cave ( https://imagejournal.org/article/a-spider-an-arab-and-a-muslim-walk-into-a-cave/ ) by Fady Joudah. literally made me giddy reading it. that, and Shell Song ( https://shell-song.neocities.org/# ) by Everest Pipkin, which was formative me.



Hmm... food for thought.

I will check those out, thanks for the recs.