Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Feel of Books

I've just finished reading two books--one I got on Paperback Swap, the other I picked up at Riverby Books. Both were well used and a bit more worn than I care for my books to be, but for some reason, that didn't bother me one bit.

Both books had spines that had been cracked, and their covers were bent a bit at the corners, soft and flexible from previous use. The pages were well worn and a few had been bent over to mark a previous reader's place. I dodged the bullet where stains and cigarette smoke were concerned.

When I read, I never fully open my paperbacks. I want the spines looking as pristine as they day I bought them. I can't claim the same where my covers are concerned--I'm not always the most careful book layer-downer, and there have been times in the past when I've fallen asleep with a good book and awoken to find the cover bent under a stray arm or my husband's foot, the cover turned back sadly, wondering what it did to deserve such treatment.

Until recently, I haven't really bought or gotten used books, preferring firsthand copies. And some of the books I've gotten have been in first rate condition, clearly read by readers like me, who believe in preserving the integrity of the construction of books.

And I don't know if it's that I enjoyed the stories these two little abused volumes told so much that their own history appealed to me, or if maybe I'm just mellowing. But they look just as good to me on my shelf as all those books I've taken the trouble to keep new.

(And while you're at it, do yourself a favor and go read The Dive From Clausen's Pier and The Magic of Ordinary Days.)

0 pearl(s) of wisdom: