Oct 30, 2008

Meme: Condition

.Question from Booking Through Thursday:

Are you a spine breaker? Or a dog-earer? Do you expect to keep your books in pristine condition even after you have read them? Does watching other readers bend the cover all the way round make you flinch or squeal in pain?

I try to treat my books nice. Especially because those I add to my collection are ones I want to read again someday. I don't expect that they'll always stay pristine, and seeing battered books at the public library actually pleases me: that shows they've been read many times! At the same time, spine-breaking, dog-earing pages or laying books down open on their faces is abusive. They really shorten the life of that book. Once a paperback has its spine broken, it's all downhill from there. Eventually it's just going to fall apart. That's why I prefer to get hardbound books, and if I do end up adding a paperback (usually trade size) to my library, I try to treat them gently.

It's sometimes hard to teach my family the same respect- my daughter does things like jump on her books (augh!) or use them as construction materials (okay, but at some point the building gets abandoned and then the books end up on the floor in reach of feet). And my husband takes books along on his commute. I love helping him choose titles to read on the train, but sometimes cringe when they come back. Hardbacks are too heavy for him to want to carry about, but paperbacks get jostled around in his bag and re-emerge worse for wear. It's terrible, but I'm often reluctant to loan him one of my own books and prefer he takes along a library copy.

17 comments:

Lezlie said...

I prefer trade paperbacks just because they're lighter than hard bounds and better looking than mass market. :-) And I keep mine looking like they've never been touched. Broken spines make my hair curl!

Lezlie

Beth F said...

I know what you mean about paperbacks just not holding up! Thanks for stopping by...

Heather said...

I love the photo of your daughter's building... I've never seen a kid incorporate books into a block tower (maybe she's going to design libraries when she grows up). I can totally sympathize with your husband... portable books (although worse for the wear) are a necessity, and reading on the commute redeems the time quite well.

Jeane said...

We often speculate that she'll be an architect. ABC blocks and books were her first materials, then wooden blocks, and now she's gotten into legos. She still uses her books occasionally to make a roof or a slide.

Smilingsal said...

I prefer to get hardbound books for several reasons, and I do handle them with care.

KittyCat said...

We're both in the same boat! Hubby doesn't understand why I'm so whiney about the books he's reading...

My little boy loves building blocks too and has recently been using his board books as well LOL

He's nowhere as neat as your cutie pie though...

tuesday said...

I always buy paperbacks because I like the way they feel in my hands, but I also want them to last a long time so I like to keep my books in pristine condition, too :)

Jennifer said...

Lol, yep books in bags can be risky. My brother and sister and I used to use books in construction too, but only the big heavy ones. =)

Alice Teh said...

I love my books just like you do!... :D I prefer paperbacks to hardbacks.

Becca said...

I took a book to work just today, and was dismayed to find the cover had gotten bent in my work bag! Arg!

Leah said...

You have been tagged with the '7 random facts: book edition' tag. Come over to The Octogon to get your instructions :)

Julia said...

Oh my goodness, I would cry if kids jump on the books LOL! But yes, it is hard to teach kids to take care of their own books too. But if repeatdly tell them so often, they might hear you :)

I don't dog ear or break my book bind either. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Bybee said...

I try to be gentle with books. My goal is that once I read a new book, it should look as if it had never been read. But I do carry my current reads in my huge purse and the covers get little nicks or bends. OUCH.

As for hardbacks -- I love that "cover creaking" noise of a new hardback book. If I can find a used hardback that makes that noise, I'm pretty happy. What a geek.

Matt said...

The ultimate solution is to create space for books and not to shelf them too tight.

I took a class in book preservation and repair. You'll be amazed how many steps one has to take in order to mend a book once the spine comes off. The entire cardboard has to be removed carefully from the book before pasting on to it a new board.

Another major source of damage is acid. The food crumbs, the coffee stain will acidify papers and cause irreparable damage.

Trish said...

But look how sweet your daughter is--how can you resist letting her use books as building materials. ;) I am treating my books better than I used to, but with carrying them around everywhere I go they do get a little more worn.

ReadsAllNight said...

I'm frighteningly pristine - creased spines bring me out in a cold sweat! and if I see someone bending down a page to mark the place, I just can't take it..lol

Bookfool said...

My books stay pristine, but I know what you mean . . . my husband beats on books and so does my youngest son. I don't complain *too* much when my son destroys a book, simply because I'm so happy that he's reading. I want to grow readers. But, my husband should know better, by now.

Your daughter's building is pretty amazing. She could end up an engineer, too. They tend to be good at building, when young.