How do you treat the books you read? Do you keep the pages close together so as not to break the binding? Or instead of bookmarks do you sprawl the book open at the page you’re on. Do you mark your favorite passages? Or are the pages not to be marred?
I have some very good friends who collect books and they have very strong opinions about how books are to be treated. They do not read their signed copies of science fiction. They have copies that look pretty and are in pristine condition, and copies that can be read, which they still are careful with.
I’m not the world’s neatest person. I keep my books in piles throughout my room, and sometimes they fall or get stuffed in a bag and pages get bent. Sometimes there’s water damage or tears. And it’s sad, but as long as I can read the words, I’m happy. Because the magic of reading isn’t in the mass-produced pages.
I love books. Not just reading, but books themselves. I haven’t succumbed and gotten an e-reader yet. I probably will eventually, but it’s not a high priority. Books feel nice, smell nice, and are fun to have around. But it’s the stories within that are the treasure. And no matter how ratty and battle-worn a book is, the story can shine through. That’s the real power of literature.
After all, the bulk of the heart that an author puts into their book is in the writing. Sure, they have input on the cover, maybe even create it themselves. And some authors choose the paper the book uses. But a lot of the printing process is largely impersonal, or at the very least, not unique to the story on the pages.
So whether you wash your hands before opening your favorite tome, or have to squint to read through the greasy chip stains, or slide through the words on a screen, take some time this long weekend to enjoy a story.