Friday, April 10, 2015

Reading Habits: Breaking the Spine

How do you prefer to treat your books? 

I have a friend who is really careful with her books. Like, really careful. Those books to not get exposed to bad situations. She WILL NOT ALLOW her books to be opened beyond about a thirty degree angle. I'm not kidding. She likes her books to look like they haven't been opened. Her shelves are a little incredible, because they look like they would be at home in a bookstore. Her books are in that condition. (thirty degree angle-reading takes some practice, but you do get the hang of it...)

I am not nearly so careful with my books. I will literally read the covers off of them. We had to replace Harry Potter and the Philosopher's  Stone because it had been read so many times.

This is possible best demonstrated by my copies of the  Inheritance series. I really should replace them I have the *shudders* movie cover of Eragon, and then the next two books are... mildly destroyed. Eldest probably took the worst damage. I had to tape the back cover back on, even after it was battered to complete illegibility. 

Brisingr featuring water damage.
Also mysterious stains. Yeah.
Not all of my books are in this condition, of course. This series just somehow took some of the worst of it. If it is a library book or a book I've been lent (especially then), I will be a heck of a lot more careful that I would be with my own copies. I lend books out myself, and I definitely know what its like to get one of your books back in pieces (seriously). 

So, clearly, I'm not opposed to my books getting a little (a little?) battered in the process of reading and rereading them again and again.

And now people are probably planning to persecute for crimes against paperbacks. Most of my books are in pretty good condition actually, but I'm definitely not afraid of them being a little well-loved. (Now I'm going to have to show you my shelves to prove that they're not actually in terrible condition... I should do a tour at some point anyway...)

Does anyone have any particular habits where it applies to treating your books?


  1. One of the reasons I prefer trade size paperbacks to mass market is I feel that it's easier to hold them open without creasing the spine. For a mass market pb, you pretty much have to crease (not break) the spine especially if it's a thicker book.

    I really like to keep my books nice, but I've been trying not to let that get in the way of sharing them with friends (one of the many pleasures of a reading life). I've noticed my friends vary in how they treat my books. Some come back looking chewed on!! Once, my sister used a book to help deliver a foal. That was special.

    1. I think the foal takes the cake on "most interesting use for borrowed book." One of mine came back marker stained after spending several months in my sister's backpack (ironically, the title was Ink), but that isn't nearly as exciting.

      I love sharing my books with other people, but that doesn't mean I don't get a little nervous. Especially if they randomly keep them for four months.