Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dog-Ears or Dust-Jackets?

I'm taking a poll.

Dog-ears or Dust-jackets?

How does your bookshelf grow?

Underlined and circled
Annotated pages
And flimsy spines
All stacked
In comfortable piles?
Loved as a comfortable pillow,
Fawned over in times of want?


Rows of pretty, unsullied maids
Standing erectly at attention
Starched snowy frocks within
To be
Devoured with the eyes
But only handled by kid gloves?

I did not know bending corners was a book crime until I stumbled across it in a blog recently.
Who knew? Apparently I have been defiling my books and did not know it.
I was about to whisper words of apology to each tattered volume
when I got to thinking.

Would you rather be loved or left alone?

As an author would you want your book high on a shelf
or read so many times the cover had to be patched back on with duct tape?

Just curious.

I like to think books are glad of being loved
rather than forgotten on the shelves, or worse, never read for fear of spoilage.

[A note to my favorite librarian:
Please do not revoke my library card or forbid the shadow of my blasphemous self to ever cross the threshold of your fine establishment again for the confessions in this post.
I do take tender care of my library books and keep my pages unbent, personal book preferences aside.]


Natasha said...

Personally, I don't like dog ends. If I don't have a bookmark handy (which is near impossible because any piece of paper I find doubles up as a book mark), I remember the page number. But I can't bring myself to bend the corner to mark the page where I fell asleep.

But, if I were a book, I would rather be held up with duct tape than be left beautifully unloved.

~ Rayna

Stacy Post said...

An unread book is a tragedy!

My view? If it's borrowed, treat it like it's new.

If it's yours...then it's up to you. Many of my paperbacks at home are quite dog-eared and worn. But I try to keep the hardbacks in better condition. I have a separate shelf for special, old editions that require a little tlc for handling...so I stand firmly between the two choices!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I choose the loved book, minus the dog-eared pages. I'm with Rayna on that one. My books are far from unsullied, but I can't bear to bend the corners. :-)

Jan Morrison said...

loved to bits, dirty, rumply from bath reading but oddly I never underline or do that stuff. Our home is full to the rafters - the ones out? Gardening books, ours and the library's. Books on first nation people for my research, mine and library's. Millenium trilogy by Steig Larsen - not mine so taken care of...lots of writing books, history books, cook books, homesteading, oh it is endless. If they aren't mine, I take care of them BUT I do read in the bathtub. It is neccessary. I'm pretty dog-eared myself, rough and read all over, the colour in my hair is gone and so have my freckles, my knees and elbows are rough but my heart and mind are true and good...

Martha Brockenbrough said...

Faith, I love to keep my books perfect because I love them so. But maybe this is a mistake. I read in the New York Times about Mark Twain's annotations on his library--he corrected grammar, praised young poets, ranted about bad style...what an amazing treasure those books must be!


Unknown said...

I'd like to tell you that they are delicately placed and dusted frequently but that would be a lie, wanna know why? BECAUSE I READ THEM... they are torn and scratched and broken, not from lack of love, I've loved those books very much but because I've opened the pages so many times that it's time to buy a new copy!

Oh such a fun post, makes me want to pull out a favorite book!

Ruthie Redden said...

Loved for sure, i do not set out to fold down a page, or get steamed pages (from reading in the bath), but i love my books & the worlds they contain & become far too engrossed to give consideration to anything else! One of my most love books is "precious bane" by mary webb, is so falling to pieces, but when i look at it, i remember all the summery days i have spent loosing myself x

Erin Lucas said...

My favourite books are loved to death... underlined, doodled in and bent. I cover my most-used "babies" in clear contact paper to keep them alive a bit longer. I'm a hypocrite though because I don't let my children draw or rip or rumple pages in their books. "Books are your friends" I say. Maybe when they are 18 I will let them treat their "friends" badly, like I do.

Faith Pray said...

I love how beauty is found in both sun and shade. Much like my dear blog friends.
Spotlessly kept books inspire me equally as much as those worn tomes patched with contact paper and rubbed edges.
Martha, Mark Twain's library sounds like a writer's mecca.
Erin, I like your parenting standard. What about board books? We can't keep C-bear from eating his. Do I need to add more fiber to his diet?
Jan, thanks to you I have found my life goal: to be loved to bits, rumply and dog-eared but still true and good within.

Faith Pray said...

I should probably mention that
although many of my books come to me through garage sales and thrift stores and thus get further dogeared, I do have treasured books that don't get bent or flopped around.
I might not dust them regularly, but these volumes are as near to pristine as things get around here.
So there you go, cherishing your loved ones is expressed keeping them perfect as well as bending them to tatters.


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