The next chapter was my mountainous internal struggle with underlining. I am a purist and I also believe authors are frequently treated like dirt. Reading the end of the book is judging without a hearing. Singing music while you read is yelling while someone is trying to talk to you. And underlining is making something stand out the writer chose not to put in all caps, bold, or italic. Marring the pages with your own notes is distracting and doesn't allow you to hear the author's whole thought. You know, these sorts of convictions. So my reading system for several years was reading a book straight through then going back a second time to write out quotes and notes. If a book was worth reading once, it was worth reading twice.
My first leap of conscious occurred in desperation. I'm a painfully slow reader and had about seven books lined up for notes and several shelves full of books that hadn't been cracked yet. I started a book I needed to complete, start to finish, in a week. I should have, but I didn't have any respect for the particular author and so I closed my eyes and made the first incision. I began to underline with a big, bold pen. I realized it made me pay attention to word arrangement and train of thought in new ways. Taking notes became entirely different somehow and suddenly I was aware of the author's word choice and order, both in areas that were aggravating and thrilling.
There are still some books that should be committed to memory and untouched, others where post-it tabs are vital, but many books are best served and used with respectful, careful underlining. Sometimes I even write questions and notes in the margins.
I wonder how much more I would have learned if I'd given in sooner... Most of the time being a purest and perfectionist is an excuse not to learn or use something for its proper purpose.