I have a secret. A big secret. One I’m scared to admit. Ready? Deep breath in. I’ve started damaging books.
Before you begin to imagine me with fifty billion books burning on a bonfire or cutting up books in some kind of weird ritual, let me clarify: I’ve stopped being so precious about the condition my books are kept in.
I used to keep all of my books in pristine condition. No creases on the spine, no bent covers, and definitely no dog-eared pages. I used to say that cracking a book spine was like cracking a human spine: it couldn’t be done without inflicting severe pain (on both the book and the reader).
Now, though? I really can’t be bothered to be that precious about it.
There’s something almost magical about reading a book and finding a page or quotation you love, folding down the page with adoration so that you can remember where to find it again, and moving on until you find another section that you fall for. It’s not just an emotional experience; it’s a physical one. The action of folding the page down, as you move to get the crease just right so that it doesn’t cover any of the text, as you quickly press it down so that it stays in position, feels exhilarating to me.
Wear and tear also shows deep love for a book. The original editions of my Stonewylde books are so battered now that I have to be careful that they don’t fall apart in my hands as I read them. I’ve read them so many times, turned the pages so often, that the spines are ripped and teared; tiny fingerprint ink stains litter the margins.
And then there’s my edition of Emily Brontë’s poetry, which I take everywhere with me, so of course the glue is unsticking and I long ago accepted that the dust-jacket is destined never to again touch the book. I bought it secondhand, but I can’t imagine myself parting with it now because even though it has only a plain green binding and looks just like any other book, the memories contained within are pure magic.
I still can’t bear to hear the crack of a spine breaking and I have been known to hesitate before dog-earing a page, but I’m getting better.
How do you like to keep your books: in pristine condition or are you more relaxed, like I’m becoming?
My name is Lucy, and I love books. I don’t hide it – most people know that I read and love doing it. I don’t want to keep it a secret because I’m not ashamed to admit it. The thing is, I’ve been having some thoughts lately and I wanted to share them with you.
Reading is seen as something nerds do. As a teenager currently stumbling her way through life, it can be quite weird to then have people mock you for something you’re supposed to love doing. I really don’t understand it.
Just because I like reading, though, doesn’t mean I’m exactly vocal about it. Something that seems to happen though is people feel as if they have to talk about books to start a conversation with me. It’s as if they think reading and books take up all of the space in my brain and I’m not capable of talking about anything else.
An example of this is, instead of asking how I am, some people will ask me what I’m currently reading. No, I don’t mind this (I love talking about books!) but it’s just a pointless conversation starter and most people aren’t even interested. If I can have a decent conversation about books with someone I don’t mind but it’s when it’s a one sided conversation with someone that doesn’t really care that I start to get annoyed.
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Another example is that I just happened to tell my friend I’d gone a bit mad one day (that lasted. I’m going through a bit of a phase where I’m crazy all the time) and someone overheard and mistook me for saying I was angry. They then replied, ‘Why? Did someone burn your books? Is that why you’re mad?’
FIRST OF ALL, burning books is serious business. SECOND OF ALL, please don’t butt in to conversations. FINALLY, SERIOUSLY?! That doesn’t even make any sense. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WOULD SAY THAT.
However, when you have bookish conversations with someone who loved a book just as much as you did, that’s when I feel like loving books is kind of worth it. Bookish conversation is the awesomest when there is actually a CONVERSATION going on. I did get told I have a ‘book reviewer’ mode the other day though so I should probably reign back the inner fangirl. I do have a habit of fangirling a bit too much when I find someone to talk about books with.
Do people do this with you too? How do you deal with it?