Recently, I was trying to take a nice photo of Crooked Kingdom. Unfortunately, my copy would not cooperate – the cover wouldn’t stay down because I had broken the spine…multiple times.
I have no problem breaking the spines of books (until I want to take a picture that is!), but when I borrow books from my sisters’, they are adamant that they don’t want the spines broken. This got me thinking, then, about how everyone else likes to treat their books.
First off, my general practices:
- The spine can be broken – it makes the reading experience easier and shows that the books on my shelf have been read (often multiple times)
- The corners of pages can be folded down if there is a particularly nice passage or quote but not as a bookmark (I don’t know why this makes a difference, I just genuinely can’t deal with the corners being folded down as a place marker!)
- Nice passages/quotes can be underlined but only with pencil
- When reading a hard book with a dust jacket, the dust jacket is removed and placed in a safe place until the book has been finished, at which point the dust jacket is carefully replaced.
Things I can’t deal with:
- As outlined above – pages folded down as a page marker
- Writing or marking with pens or highlighters – obviously there are a few exceptions like signed copies, and inscriptions inside the cover but apart from that it’s a no from me!
- The front cover of the book being bent. Obviously I won’t throw a book away if the cover as been bent and sometimes it can just happen, like if it’s packed in a bag for a holiday. Even so, nothing compares to that moment of horror when I spot a book in my bag with the cover bent the wrong way!
Next, an anecdote:
When I was younger, there was a book I used to get out of the library and read literally every few weeks. I’m really upset I can’t remember the name but it was definitely about a dragon and I’m sure I remember something about gnomes called North, South, East and West holding up the four corners of the sky. This is completely beside the point but someone please tell me you read this book when you were younger and can tell me what it is!? Anyway, I used to read this book every few weeks until one day it just disappeared and never came back. This bothered me for years until one day I happened to mention this book to my friend. Turns out she also loved the book and she had been borrowing the same copy from the library when we were younger (at the time we went to different schools). One time, though, she had spilled tea all over the book so the library had made her pay for it and keep it.
Moral: Don’t spill tea on your books, you will leave a small child without her favourite book and she will turn into a twenty year old forever wondering if she dreamed up gnomes holding up the sky! Or maybe it was giants?!
So, what are your general bookish practices? Is there anything that really bothers you that other people do to their books? Am I completely mad for being bothered by bending the pages as a bookmark? Did I make up the gnomes/giants? Please help me!
Disclaimer – everyone is free to do what they wish with their books, if you want to bend the pages, you bend those pages (I’ll just go and cry in the corner!).
As always, happy reading!