Friday, 19 December 2014
I would be ashamed of a book whose spine was not broken...
I Murdered my Library is a kindle single by a famous author downsizing her book collection as she moves to a new property. It's full of gems that book lovers will adore and relate to. This particular one struck me:
"The glory for me is how many of the books are in poor physical condition. They are books that have been read and read intensely. They are knocked about and shopworn. I would be ashamed of a book whose spine was not broken."
I know some readers are careful, and hate to damage their books in any way. I am the opposite - I crease spines on purpose to mark my progress, turn over corners, highlight, underline, scrawl my thoughts and sometimes even bend the covers, With a single glance at my shelves, you would be able to work out which books are read, and which are unread. The more battered the book, the more I have loved it - the story of my reading is told by the condition of the pages. The pristine ones nag at me to pick them up as soon as possible.
Of course, I do have some special editions I wouldn't like to damage (mainly classics), but on the whole I prefer the look of a book that has clearly been enjoyed. I love buying out of date, battered copies in charity shops, especially if they have names, notes or annotations in them. Books are extremely special objects to me, but I don't believe that I have to treat them like glass.
How do you treat your books?