Huh? You might be asking. But I know for a fact that every single person, especially those who read obsessively, treats their books differently. Some revere them, some highlight them, some hardly open them for fear of breaking the spine, some like their books to show the physicality of their love. EVERYONE has a different way of treating their precious books.
Me? Well. I used to be firmly on the team of treating books like bricks of gold. To this day, I still don't let ANYBODY borrow my books. For the time being they are my children and I will treat them as such aka nobody knows how to take care of them like I do. But while I still read them carefully, I don't throw them around, I definitely never marked or dog-eared them in any way...now I think I'm leaning towards the other team.
What brought on this change?
I was looking at my bookshelf the other day and saw most my precious, revered book in all my collection. My very first Harry Potter book. It is in paperback (I have since re-bought it in hardcover so my collection all matches but I digress). The spine is crinkled. The cover's corners are well-worn. This book looks like it's been through a war and back. Why? Because I'm pretty sure I've read this copy a dozen times at least. No only is this one of my favorite books of all time, but I love the look of this book because it shows its history. The book looks like it has been loved. It looks like it has been read a hundred times and cherished. I LOVE this. You cannot replicate this book. If I ever lost this book or didn't have it, it would break my heart. It tells my own history as a reader as well.
Where is all this going? Well I think that seeing this and having it bring out so much emotion in me made me want to try and create more of those well-loved book looks. With the past few books I've read I've done just that. I've dog-eared pages. I've underlined passages that spoke to me. I've loved this book both mentally, emotionally, and now anyone that picks it up can see what I loved about said book.
It is also in my weird optimism that in some far off place and time if my books ever make it my own kids or their kids or a garage sale or used books store, that anyone that opens MY book will see what affected me. That is truly inspiring to me.
One Exception To This Rule
HOWEVER, what is even weirder in my preference of book treatment is that I still think of hardcover books as an entirely different entity. While I have changed my treatment of paperbacks and started to show them the love, it still seems weird to me to underline or dog ear favorite pages. It still feels damaging to me. What is my prejudice against soft covers that I find it okay to do this? No idea. Maybe because my HP book is paperback I think it's okay? Or because you can see the wear and tear on the spine of a paperback whereas the spine of a hardcover remains pristine so damaging the innards seem wrong? NO IDEA but maybe I'll evolve and eventually show equal love (and damage?) to all books without discrimination.
I mean, are all the books in the world out there saying what Meredith is saying? Should we be showing more visual love to our books?...
So Now I Have To Know...
How Do YOU Treat Your Books? What Are Your Habits and Preferences?