How do you treat your books?

In a list shamelessly stolen borrowed from Writing About Books (click the link to see who they got it from), I’ll answer some questions about how I treat books. Regular readers will likely be able to guess the answers as soon as they see the questions.

1. Are you careful with the spines? Or do you crack your books open to make them lay flat?
I never crack the spine. I actually get the shivers when I see others doing it. I even try to avoid buying used books with the spines cracked, but that’s an almost impossible task. I know it makes no difference in reading the book, but my OCD compels me to try to keep the book in as pristine condition as possible.

2. Do you use bookmarks? Or do you dog-ear the corners? If you do use bookmarks, do you use those fashionable metal ones? Or paper?
I use a book mark, and I can’t recall the last time I dog-eared a page. I used to have a nice laminated book mark, but lost it some time ago. I them switched to an old Worcester Sharks season ticket holder ID because that was laying on my desk when I lost the bookmark. I’ve since lost that (I think I accidentally threw it away) and I just grabbed an index card to take its place while I got something “better”. Still using the same index card.

3. Do you write in your books? Ever? If you do, do you make small marks, or write in as much blank space as you can find? Pen or pencil? Highlighter? Your name on the front page?
Write in a book? Just about never. I can see marking a text book with a highlighter or making notes in the margin to help you clarify something, but a fiction book? Not. A. Chance. And I never write my name in/on a book unless it’s one of the many game rulebooks I bring to conventions/gatherings. In that case it’s just a single initial in the front cover to identify me as the owner because they often get handed around a lot.

4. Do you toss your books on the floor? Into book bags? Or do you treat them tenderly, with respect?
It is possible to toss a book and still “treat them tenderly, with respect”. I often toss my book onto my desk or to my reading chair. It’s not like I’m throwing a 100MPH fastball while doing it, it’s just a gentle toss.

5. Do you ever lay your book face-down, to save your place?
[In my best impression of the UK’s Prime Minister] “I refer the honourable folks to the answer given some moments ago.” I never crack the spine…

6. Um–water? Do you bathe with your books? Hold them with wet hands? Read out in the rain? Anything of that sort?
Not even sure how one would shower with a book (well, other than just letting the book get soaked, I guess). As for rain and books, I told a story a while ago during my The most influential books for me posting about books and rain. If you’re interested in reading it, it’s at the bottom of that page. Well, technically it’s at the bottom of the page even if you’re not interested in reading it.

7. Are your books lined up on a bookshelf? Or crammed in any which way? Stacked on the floor?
All are lined up, paperback in three book cases alphabetically by author and then by release date (based on the first book in a series, if applicable). The hardcovers are in another book case, arranged the same way as the paperback. I have several hard covers on the floor in front of the bookcase, which as soon as I building the second bookcase will then rest on those shelves. Although to be fair, it will be some time as that bookcase has remained unbuilt for many years.

8. Do you make a distinction–as regards book care–between hardcovers and paperbacks?
No, not really. I do have many more “saved” hardcovers in a bookcase in my wife’s office, but other than that I don’t treat them any differently.

9. And, to recap? Naturally, you love all of your books, but how, exactly? Are your books loved in the battered way of a well-loved teddy bear, or like a cherished photo album or item of clothing that’s used, appreciated, but carefully cared for?
I care for them as well as possible until I’ve read them, where they then go into boxes to either be give to friends or to charity.

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