My sister and I are both book lovers. I have been a book lover my entire life, from the time I saw a small child. I think that I have mentioned before that my parents were kind of crazy and taught me to read at a pretty young age. So I was always a good reader. I always loved books.
And while the books that I loved when I was younger weren’t the most ground breaking of books (Sweet Valley High, Babysitter’s Club), I still have always have a deep love for books.
My sister fell into the book love a little later in life. She has very very very mild dyslexia, probably not even enough to be diagnosed but enough that reading was always really difficult for her, and obviously not something she wanted to jump into.
Well, I started reading Harry Potter to her. And Harry Potter did that wonderful thing that it tends to do: it made her a reader. It made her love books. She’s been a reader ever since. If you ever see the two of us together, we’re probably more comfortable reading together than anything else. We have similar tastes in books but definitely differing tastes as well.
But there’s one thing that we’ve always disagreed on.
And that is what condition to keep your books in.
My sister is one of those readers who tends to keep her books in perfect pristine condition. Literally, all her books look as if she just plucked them off the shelf at our neighborhood Barnes and Noble, took it home and placed it on the shelf at home. They’re perfect. The pages are still crisp and new, the bindings aren’t bent…they literally still have white pages.
This is not at all in the same of my books. I beat the CRAP out of my books. I don’t do it because I show any disrespect or any of that. I don’t do it because I don’t care about my books. Quite the opposite. My books are some of my most important prized posessions. I am quite proud of the collection I’ve built up, and the collection I’ve continued to build up.
I’ve always accepted our differences, even though I thought she was a weirdo. I thought SHE was the anomaly.
Today I saw someone who posted a picture on facebook of someone reading a Cassandra Clare book and she’s was literally AGHAST at the fact that the person had bent the cover back…and people were commenting on it, ready to, like, run with pitchforks at the reader. Like it was the most horrible thing in the world that she had bent the spine a little bit.
And I was literally baffled. I mean, here are some examples of the books that I own. I only took a few pictures because I have too many beat up books to really share.
My copy of Rebel Angels by Libba Bray. You can see stains on the front cover and that the spine is pretty beat up. Notice its missing its dust jacket.
There’s my copy of City of Glass. The cover is pretty messed up and the pages are all brown and bent…and this is my SIGNED copy too.
One of my absolute favorite books of all time. Look at this thing. LOOK AT IT. I don’t even have to explain, the picture says it all.
My other absolute favorite book, Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce. Enough said in this picture.
The point that I’m trying to make is…well these people were acting like the person was showing disrespect to the book and the author by bending the covers and spines, folding over the corners, and showing any wear and tear on the books…like it was absolute blasphemy. One girl said “I only treat books like that if I disrespect the book or the author”. I mean, really?
I have absolutely NO disrespect to books or authors by showing my books LOVE. In fact, I’ve always felt opposite. If you see pretty books on my shelves, its usually because either its a brand new book or I didn’t like it enough to read it again, and show it some love. I carry books around in my purse, I toss them into my backpack, I read in the bathtub, on the beach. There are always several books on my bed and they get kicked around and tossed underneath, and squished between the bed and the wall. (I just counted, I have 8 books on my bed plus my Kindle Fire).
I bend covers, or I just plain lose them. I don’t have a lot of books that actually still have their dust sleeves. Its not that I don’t think the covers are pretty, because they TOTALLY are…I just hate dust sleeves. They get in the way when I’m reading. I’d rather have paperbacks over anything else. I read while I’m in the bathtub and I’ve totally dropped my books in the water…and I dry them out and keep them. I read while I eat (in fact, I eat SUPER slow if I don’t read, I get distracted by…pretty much nothing) and I get food stains and grease stains on my books. I don’t lovingly place my books in my purse or backpack; I toss them in there, and they get caught on other things and pages get bent, covers get torn. Its LOVE.
I LOVE my books. I can’t imagine keeping my books perfect. I mean, its not like I go around and purposely beat up my books. I just don’t think about it. I suppose if I really stopped to think about it, I could keep my books neat and nice but I’d have to go out of my way to really think about it and I just don’t care enough to do that. I care too much about reading and enjoying the book.
And I just feel like I can’t be the only person in the world who does this? Its not like…like I wouldn’t throw my TV around, or my laptop…I have respect for the things that I own, especially my books. I buy a good 90% of my books, and the rest I get as gifts. I care very much about my books, and I show that by keeping them with me at all times (remember, eight books on my bed), and that includes situations where they might get a little beat up. Look at my Goblet of Fire and Trickster’s Choice books above. My two absolute favorite books in the entire world and look how beat up they are!
What I’m wondering, basically, is…am I the crazy one here? Am I the anomaly? I pride myself in being literate, in being a prolific reader, a lover of books, both what they contain and what they are. I never thought of myself as disrespecting my books, or any of that. I still don’t think that. I will still continue to treat the books the way that I do, and they’ll still be torn to pieces and all that.
But what about you guys? What do you think? Do you beat books up, do you love them, do you always have a bookmark available to mark your spot or do you fold down those corners? As always, let me know in the comments. I’m ready for some discussion!
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