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The sanctity of books

January 7, 2009

It’s true–I really like books. A good portion of my free time is spent reading and nearly all my course work is book centered. I spent many hours organizing my library and, since I got a book embosser for my birthday, I’ve been working on embossing most of the books I own. Occasionally I’ll just wander over to our primary bookshelves (though books are littered about the apartment most days) just to look and remind myself that I should probably be reading something. I am fairly certain that I loved the Aged Sumatra limited edition coffee at Starbucks because it tasted like the way an old library book smells–I realize that’s a bit odd but I’m okay with it.

That being said, I don’t take very good care of books. I can’t help but jot in the margins, completely drain a highlighter in one novel, dog ear pages (this one is a rarity), bend back the cover on a paperback to make it easier to hold with one hand, and generally mistreat the books that I own. For this reason, I get a bit sad when I am forced to use a book for research that belongs to the library or someone else–I can’t mistreat someone else’s book.

I do this not because I don’t care about books. I love books! My guess would be that I care what is in the books more than the cover. This is not to say that those that are strict about the way they handle books somehow are superficial or have a different love for words, but only that I work differently.

Do you now think I’m a heathen bibliophobe? How do you treat your texts?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2009 7:42 pm

    I think what counts is that you actually read, interact with, and enjoy the books you own. That’s more important than a book on your shelf that stays in perfect condition but is never read.

  2. January 8, 2009 12:26 am

    I too believe that what is important is the words, not the condition of the books. That being said…

    you are an archivist’s worst nightmare.

    But we archivists often treat our own books in the same nightmarish manner.

  3. January 11, 2009 1:34 am

    The book coffee thing is beyond weird, but that’s okay… It really makes me want to try one now…

    I think this whole book treatment thing is related to personality type, because there are other things that are associated with a person’s book treatment preferences. The ones who take crazy good care of their books are also very judgmental of those of us who break them in a little bit. I don’t know many aggressive users who judge the meticulous ones, though.

  4. January 11, 2009 1:35 am

    Oh! And this library thing is fascinating. How long did that take you to make and what will you do with it, now?

  5. iantrevor permalink*
    January 11, 2009 6:30 pm

    It took several hours, but it was made quicker by having a LibraryThing CueCat barcode scanner. It automatically inputs the book info to your library.

    I use the organized library to determine how I should shelve my books. It’s also for my peace of mind. Were my apartment to burn down I would have a record of all the books I own to tell my insurance company.

  6. January 12, 2009 7:47 pm

    I’m jealous of your organized library. I always intend for mine to be organized, and sometimes I try but I’m never successful. I always fret about whether to organize by period, or author, or genre, etc. etc. with the result that nothing ever gets done. My books are at home, in the office, on shelves, in piles, stacked on the floor, on tables, beside chairs . . . You get the picture.

  7. iantrevor permalink*
    January 12, 2009 9:41 pm

    That’s the way mine were and I grew so frustrated that I need to change. The nice thing about LibraryThing is that it will organize your books however you like: Dewey Decimal, by Author, by your own tags, etc. It’s a wonderful tool.

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