For my International Studies in Human Rights course this week, I’m reading Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. My copy has been used at least once before, and the margins are only somewhat stained with the former owner’s comments. His/her hot pink pen scribbles and underlines pieces I agree with, and I readily underline over her own markings. My comments sometimes overlap with hers, or they stand on their own. Other times I can only underline and put exclamation points by her notes.
This kind of dialogue can’t happen in a Kindle. While I may never meet this person, and as Billy Collins has so beautifully written, I have established a melancholy relationship with the previous reader, which makes my experience that much richer. The margins are fat and begging to be taken and deflowered. I’ve claimed them as my own. My dark blue ink collides with the previous person’s hot pink – an illustration and tribute to accessible knowledge. At the end of the book, Kevin Bales asks that the reader pass on the book to further the education. I am all too ready to give this book to someone else. Let the dialogue continue.