My books are my precious children. I cover them with clear adhesive wrap like an overprotective mother. When I read them, I make sure my hands are clean, refrain from eating, and try not to crease the spine too much. You could say I’m a tad obsessive. But who isn’t? I know plenty of book lovers, myself included, who’d never let someone borrow their books for fear that it’ll come back damaged. Or even just the simple fear of seeing a dog eared page. *shudders*
But I also love the look of used and battered book. You can tell it’s well-loved and well-read (unless this look was achieved by being dropped from a twenty storey building). If you see this book in the library, you know that many must have opened the cover, flipped through it’s pages, and left the world for hours as they stepped into the story. On my own shelf, the Goblet of Fire and the Order of the Phoenix fit this description, as they captured my imagination when I was young. I used to read those books at least twice a year and never got sick of them. When I pick them up now and look at their creased spines, covers bent at the corners, and yellowing pages, I get vivid memories of those younger times.
But now, for some reason, while I love the look and feel of a well-read book, I can’t bring myself to do that to my own anymore. Of course, they’ll get to that stage over time, but not yet! Not right now. I don’t know what it is. Sometimes I feel like maybe I love them less because how many times they’ve been read doesn’t show, like the books on my shelves are just trophies on display. Sometimes, it seems a little impersonal. I remember Scott Westerfeld saying how he loved it when he signs books that look well-read and are filled with little notes and post-its. Do it mean I love my books less? Of course not!
How do you like your books?