Whatever floats your book.

(usernames blanked out because I don’t want this to seem like a personal attack)

Was happily surfing zooming my way through Tumblr when I came across the above post. Now, I do understand the point the author is coming from (that a battered book isn’t sad but loved) but along with it comes a tone that I have often heard before and that really irks me. I really don’t think that there is a certain way that good books should look and stating so just makes it sound condescending and better-than-thou.

Just like with the reader’s choice of genres, authors and titles, everybody has different preferences to reading, and this extends to how they regard and treat their books. Some people like to do the above while others prefer to keep their books in pristine condition and I think that, unless it’s a library book or a loan from someone, you should just do whatever you want with it.

Personally, I keep my books in tip-top condition. I wrap them in plastic covers the moment I get them, don’t dog ear the pages, underline or append sticky notes in (mostly because I’m too lazy to take notes while reading) and I take care not to crack the spine.

Does that make me any less of a Reader? Does that mean my experience of the book is marred? Does that mean I didn’t get the full impact of, and enjoyment from, the content? Does that mean I don’t love my books as much? I don’t think so.

I’m just a person who likes to keep my things in good condition, a general rule in my life that extends to my books as well. I mean, does it mean that just because I keep my phone in a case and have a screen protector applied on, I’m not getting out of the phone the same amount of usage and enjoyment as someone with a cracked, worn-out one?

I think everyone should just use their books the way they like to and, in countering the points of those who disdain “mistreating” their books, the author (and others who have expressed similar views) has overcompensated and made the same myopic mistake.

Yes, using the book till it’s battered and has dog ears and markings is a great way to experience and love a book and if that’s what you like, then by all means go ahead! But remember: it’s not the only way to experience and love a book.

How do you use your books? And have you ever hated on someone for “mistreating” it or keeping it “too clean”?


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