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October 12, 2006


I love my books. When I browse through the bookstore and decide to purchase a book, I always have to pick out the one without any noticable blemishes. The front cover also has to lay flat, not be sticking up. Usually, this means that I grab one from the bottom of the book pile.  I love them so much, that I read them cautiously as to keep them in as pristine condition as possible. Then they sit on my bookshelf like the beautiful objects they are. That is how I used to read my books.

The picture above is of The Kite Runner, which I read in early May. I loved the beautifully written book so much that I just HAD to share it with all my reading friends. It has gone through at least five people since then (my girlfriend even tried to give it to Maureen, who had already read it). As you can see, it has been through the mill. Years ago I would have not loaned out such a precious book for fear that it would come back to me looking just like this.

So, how did I go from being a neurotic book owner to someone so non-chalant about the condition of her books? I think it has less to do with a book itself and more to do with sharing a story that touched me. Once I read a wonderful book, I just have to tell everyone who will listen about it. What better way to share my delight than to hand them a book.

So now, take my books from their shelf, read them, doggy-ear them, underline a wonderful quote from them. Enjoy them, like I have. The well worn book that you returned to me with a smile reminds me why I too love to read.

P.S. I still do take books from the bottom of the pile at the book store. Some habits are hard to break.

– Stephanie

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2006 10:05 pm

    I always think people are going to think I’m a bit of a weirdo at the bookstore, since I look through all the available copies of a book before selecting the one for me, choosing the most pristine one I can find. So I know where you’re coming from!

  2. October 13, 2006 6:41 am

    I, too, like the perfect books to buy. However, they never seem to stay that way for me.

    Mabye I could get The Kite Runner when I return your Thornbirds book! I just started it yesterday.

  3. October 13, 2006 3:03 pm

    You could have been writing about me in this post! I do the exact same thing. Buy a pristine copy only to (now) turn down pages, highlight passages, make notes in the inside back cover, etc. However, I rarely lend my books for fear of never getting them back. It’s ok if it’s not a special book with lots of annotations (of my own), but I tremble with fear of losing that precious touchstone of time in my life due to someone’s negligence. I had someone return a book, apologizing that he dropped it in a puddle. He replaced the book, but obviously the ink and highlighting got wet and the history of my reading experience was long gone. And I hate to remind friends to return my books. There are, however, a few trusted pals who understand my views on borrowing books. 😉

  4. Tracy permalink
    October 13, 2006 8:41 pm

    I too like the look and feel of a new book. But I also think there is something comforting about a well worn book. Well, I’m enjoying your copy of the book right now! I will treat it with TLC so that Nicole and others can continue to enjoy it!

  5. October 16, 2006 9:16 am

    I don’t necessarily look for the most pristine copy of a book I’m about to buy, but I do break it in pretty well once it’s home with me. This is a trait that my husband finds appalling. I love to bend, crease, jot notes in, and generally mark up my books. I like them to have the well loved look to them. The funniest thing I do at the bookstore once I’ve walked in the front door is stop and take a big whiff. I love the smell of all those books in one place!

  6. October 16, 2006 12:39 pm

    Count me in as another bookworm who looks for the perfect book copy. And, I hardly ever loan out a book because I hate not getting books back.

  7. October 17, 2006 2:35 pm

    I too buy perfect books but I am not as generous as you. I have a few friends who have the same desire for caring for books that we exchange books amongst ourselves. If I really, really love a book and want someone else (besides them) to read it, I’ll just go buy another copy of it. I just can’t stand to give someone a book and see it come back ‘loved up’ in any way.

  8. October 18, 2006 5:38 pm

    I like your blog…thought you and some of your readers might want to read mine today where I weigh in on the topic of borrowing books.

    I had to wait to read your post until I posted mine so I wouldn’t be influenced!

  9. October 21, 2006 1:14 pm

    I have always done the same thing with my books, I pick the “perfect” looking book.

    Several years ago my cooperating teacher during my student teaching made a comment that changed my view on used books.

    One of the students didn’t want to read a book because it looked worn and used. Mrs. B simply said, “When a book looks like that you know that it has been loved my many readers.”

    I thought that was perfect. Used books are LOVED books.

    I am really enjoying the Thirteeth Tale. I hope everyone else is too.

  10. Donna permalink
    October 24, 2006 1:17 pm

    I love the smell of new books. When I opened The Thirteenth Tale I had to caress the pages. Loved the way they feel.

    Love what your cooperating teacher said about used books. Makes me think of going into my grandparent’s library and choosing books.


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