Writing Wrongs

February 08, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

What kind of care do you take of your books? Let's review, shall we?

  1. Are you careful with the spines? Or do you crack your books open to make them lay flat?

    Spines? Depends on the book, but I like them flexible enough that my hand doesnít get tired holding them open ďjust so.Ē

  2. Do you use bookmarks? Or do you dog-ear the corners? If you do use bookmarks, do you use those fashionable metal ones? Or paper?

    The school librarian once slapped my hand because I dog-eared a book. It was my book, thank you very much. These days, I generally just use a three by five index card. Oh, and if you leave a comment about this sin of mine, Iím simply going to hold my hands over my ears and sing, ďLa, la, la, I canít hear you.Ē

  3. Do you write in your books? Ever? If you do, do you make small marks, or write in as much blank space as you can find? Pen or pencil? Highlighter? Your name on the front page?

    I used to go to town with highlighter in college text books. I would write in pencil in the Russian and German books I was reading for translation purposes. Not every word, just the ones that were difficult to remember, or idioms, where the literal meanings of the words didnít add up to what the sentence truly conveyed. I remember doing that a lot with Gogol. Or was it Tolstoy?

  4. Do you toss your books on the floor? Into book bags? Or do you treat them tenderly, with respect?

    Yes. Yes. Sometimes.

  5. Do you ever lay your book face-down, to save your place?

    Iíve been known to do this on occasion. (ďLa, la, la, I canít hear you.Ē)

  6. Um--water? Do you bathe with your books? Hold them with wet hands? Read out in the rain? Anything of that sort?

    Despite all my other sins against books, this is one that I donít do. People rhapsodize about reading in the tub. Meh. Never saw the appeal.

  7. Are your books lined up on a bookshelf? Or crammed in any which way? Stacked on the floor?

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

  8. Do you make a distinction--as regards book care--between hardcovers and paperbacks?

    Not really. I do try to take good care of those books that are autographed to me, those written by friends, and sometimes those are the same thing.

  9. And, to recap? Naturally, you love all of your books, but how, exactly? Are your books loved in the battered way of a well-loved teddy bear, or like a cherished photo album or item of clothing that's used, appreciated, but carefully cared for?

    Oh, I think itís pretty clear Iím of the well-loved teddy bear ilk.

  10. Any additional comments?

    Library books are another matter. Iím careful with those and audio books I get from the library. This is common courtesy, if nothing else. I hate getting an audio CD that looks like someone used it for rugby practice, or a scratching post, or whatever. Seriously, some of the damage Iíve seen could only be caused by someone scraping the CD across asphalt, twenty times.

The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath
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Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 9:53 a.m.