Book markings

Every day I try to place a quote on my website. Sometimes I draw from notes I've taken on books I've read. Sometimes I use a quote someone has given me. Sometimes I pull a book off my shelf and look for what I've underlined or marked in the margin. Earlier this week I pulled Your Other Vocation by Elton Trueblood off the shelf to look for a quote. It had been a long time since I paged through this book, which I bought used at a fundraiser sale for a private high school about 10 to 15 years ago. I was rather surprised to see the name "Eugene Peterson" handwritten in the front of the book because I don't remember noticing it before. I wonder if it could be the Eugene Peterson that has authored about 20 books, including the Bible translation that goes by the name The Message? There are lots of areas of underlining that I know I did not do. It's interesting to look at these underlinings and wonder how those passages shaped the person who did the underlining, or specifically, shaped Eugene Peterson the author, if indeed the book did belong to him. Book markings are a very private thing. To read a book after someone who has marked it is very revealing. I like to see what my father has marked in his books stacked in his living room, or what has touched my cousin in the books she loans me. A couple times I've borrowed a book that one of my sons has read and when I come across something they've underlined it almost feels as if I'm trespassing on private space. I read somewhere about how biographers can learn things about their subjects by procuring the actual books they read and studying what is underlined or written in the margins.