Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My relationship with my books

My best friend Ann loves to read. I love to read too. But we treat books very differently. When I've read a book once, it looks about the same as one of Ann's books would look if she read it five times. (Actually, her book would probably still look brand-new!)

So Ann and I agreed to each write today about our feelings about books, and how we treat them, and why. Ann's post is at her blog; be sure to check it out when you're done!

I go through phases where I don't read a lot, but I always come back to books. And when I'm reading a good one, I like to read everywhere.
  • When I was in junior high, I'd walk through the hallways reading books. (I have no idea why people thought I was a nerd!!)
  • I often have a book with me when we're going somewhere as a family. The Engineer drives; I read.
  • I read in the tub--and have multiple formerly-waterlogged books, with their wavy pages, to show for it.
  • I read while I'm doing my hair, or cooking, or folding laundry. That means that sometimes I purposefully break the spines of my paperback books so that I can prop them open more easily...with a bottle of lotion, or a kitchen utensil, or anything else I can find.
I've considered why I don't treat my books very well, and I think I've figured it out.

I don't love books. I love reading. Books are just the tool, and just as I don't have a particular attachment to a hammer or a wrench, I generally don't have a particular attachment to the paper and glue and thread that make up a book.

If a book gets wet, I'm very annoyed. But that's partially because wet books are hard to read! And the risk is worth the luxury of relaxing in the tub, reading. I don't mind broken spines, as long as the pages aren't falling out (very inconvenient.) And I think the idea of a bookmark is an excellent one, but I seem to always misplace them...which is why my books so often have the corners folded over, or are left open and facedown. (I should point out that I try to treat loaned books with more care...but I'll admit sheepishly, I've had to pay for borrowed books that I've dropped in the tub!)

Those who adore books--the tools--talk about loving the smell, and the feel of the paper, and the action of turning a page. I can understand that, but I don't really relate to it. Lately I find myself disappointed when I have a book in paper format instead of on my Kindle. My Kindle doesn't have to be propped open. It's light and portable. (And when I seal it in a quart-sized Ziploc it's suddenly waterproof, so I still get to read in the tub!)

I am deeply in love with the hobby of reading. But the book itself is not my lover; it is my servant, allowing me to spend time getting lost in the object of my passion--the story.

Click on over and read Ann's post about her relationship with her beloved books. Then let us know--how do you feel about reading, and how do you treat books?


Eternal Lizdom said...

I don't beat up my books but I'm not especially gentle with them, either. I don't have any interest in going electronic with my books- nothing against it for others, just haven't found a need for it for myself.

Tia said...

I think beat up books look more loved than pristine books. My books take a beating too. And I do love both my books and reading...

The only ones I am careful with, are the ones I check out from the library...

SurvivorBlessing said...

What can I say - I love books and I will protect them!!!

Unknown said...

I use to love the feel of books and turning the pages. The smell of the paper and ink bugged me though. All that changed when I got the iPad and became hooked on eBooks. I will never go back.

As for how I treated my paper books, I was careful with them but not too careful. I would bend the binding to lay them flat, but wouldn't risk getting them dirty. I figure, it doesn't have to be in perfect shape to be read so no need to baby it. They just need to be in good enough shape to pass along either to a friend or the local used book store. I have so much credit there I will probably never use it up. haha.

beckiwithani said...

LOVING the idea of the Kindle in a Ziploc. I will do this. Thanks!

Call Me Cate said...

I think I'm similar to you in that the book is just the means of delivering the reading material. However, I'm still gentle with my books. I don't fold down pages (though I use some really random things as bookmarks sometimes) but I also don't freak out if the spine breaks or a corner of the cover gets dented.

I'm trying to go with ebooks as much as possible because I love the convenience of the Kindle. It's also an environmental and a "stuff" issue for me - if a book is great, maybe I'll buy a hard copy. But I've become hyper-aware of how much material I'm consuming unnecessarily for things like books, movies, and music. If I can download or stream, it means less trees, oil, pollution, etc and also fewer things in my house.

caryn said...

A Kindle in a Ziploc, GREAT idea! I live on the beach so I will be stealing this idea not only for water but to keep the sand out!

Faisal said...

I'm definitely more Beth than Ann. I wish I'd have the luxury of reading in bathtub, but we don't have one (Maybe when I have my own place one day). Like u, I loooove to read, and yeah, I used to read as I walk. Not anymore tho, cos I don't do that much walking anymore. I also LOVE collecting books(I think most readers do) yet I dont mind reading ebooks. But whenever I read a great book electronically, I always make the effort to buy the hard copy version for my book collection... hehe... that's how I am with books.