Today I am going to be sharing with you how I annotate/tab my books. I will be using The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi as an example. This was the Books with Friends pick for March and as I recently finished it,I will share some of my spoiler-free thoughts about it as well. If you’re interested in picking up a copy, please click here.
This novel is set in Paris, 1889. It follows treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Severin Montagnet-Alarie; desperate to reclaim his inheritance from The Order of Babel. But when the all-powerful society seeks him out, he will need help from a band of experts. Together, they will go on the ultimate quest to obtain a sacred object in order to buy their own freedom.
So this may be a super unpopular opinion…but I gave this book 3 stars. The reason for this was because I had just finished reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and they were way too similar. The Gilded Wolves just didn’t quite measure up. I know I shouldn’t have compared the two but I just couldn’t help it. Now don’t get me wrong, the language in this story is beautiful and the characters – in particular Zofia – were very likable, but it just felt like a watered-down version of Six of Crows that didn’t blow me away. In fact, it was so similar, I actually marked in the pages where I saw the parallels.
Please don’t take my opinion as fact. Make up your own mind.
Now onto how I tabbed this beautiful book (the cover is divine!) Firstly, I buy my tabs from a place in Australia called Officeworks. You can order the type I use here. You may wonder why anyone would tab their books to begin with. Well, if you’re a book reviewer like myself, it helps to have an easy reference guide. You can also re-read the book and enjoy your favourite passages and plot-points again; seeing what has changed and what has remained the same.
When I use a green tab, I am highlighting plot points within the novel that I really appreciate/like. For example, there were lots of images/symbols in this book for the treasure-hunters to solve. I loved the aspect and tabbed every single one. If you know my reading tastes, you know I love a story with illustrations/mixed-media. It just adds a fun, interactive element to the book.
Blue tabs are used for quotes that strike a chord with me. They could be funny, deep, sad, beautiful etc. In this book, a quote that I tabbed was: ‘You are real, my girl, for you are loved.’
Yellow tabs are reserved for passages/dialogue that makes me laugh out loud. It’s for any sentence I find funny. This particular quote made me giggle: Enrique shuddered. ‘Honestly. Who looks at a vase covered in bull testicles and says, ‘You. I must have you.?’
If you see a red tab, it means I disliked this part of the story or something a character said. These are particular useful when it comes to reviewing or critiquing the negative aspects of a book. For example, I did not like this passage: It was to be the largest attraction after the Gallery of Machines and the Eiffel Tower. According to the newspapers, it contained “a Negro Village” with almost 400 Africans in their natural habitat.
I am not calling out the author on this sentence. I know she wasn’t being deliberately racist. I was just sad that human zoos used to be a thing. It’s a disgusting part of history that should never have occurred.
Purple highlights all of the friendship feels for me. It’s for when my heart feels warm at different characters supporting one another and meshing really well.
In the following passage, Laila (our mysterious dancer) does something kind for her friend Zofia (the autistic engineer). Only then did Laila remove the platter; place it off to the side of a different counter; and position it just so, with none of the corners hanging off the edges and arranged perpendicular to the wall.
This made me smile because without saying a single word, Laila does something for Zofia that she knows will ease her anxiety and adhere to how she likes things arranged.
Last but not least, my pink tabs are reserved for romance. I place this on pages where I really “ship” the characters or feel the tension between them. In this particular novel, there is a lot of heat between Severin and Laila. When he comes to see her dance, she reveals her thoughts whilst up on stage: Laila knew she should look at the other audience members, but she couldn’t look anywhere but at him, and she didn’t want him looking at anyone but her.
At the end, I look at the coloured tabs that appeared most frequently. If there is a lot of red, you know I did not like the book. For The Gilded Wolves, I added a lot of yellow and green. This means I laughed a lot and enjoyed the majority of the plot-points. I hope this makes sense.
Thank you so much for reading. Let me know down below if you tab/annotate your books. If so, what is your system/method? I would love to know!
Peace & Love xoxo
Disclaimer: This post contains links to my Book Depository Affiliate which helps fund my blog, I am not being paid or sponsored for this post/products – all my thoughts/opinions are my own