Friday, November 14, 2008

Are You a Spine Breaker?

This months "in between" question is borrowed from a site called Booking Through Thursday:
Are you a spine breaker? Or a dog-earrer?
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 have gone through stages of both ways. When I was younger I would break spines to make the book open flat, wrap the cover around the back of a paper back, fold down pages etc. Now, whenever I see my son do that, I scold him. "You're going to ruin the book! We keep books nice in this house."

I try to be careful not to open them too far, but I will open them far enough to read comfortably.
And I must admit I like when others keep their books nice, because my favorite place to buy books is 

So how about you? How do you read/keep your books?



Mrs. Mordecai said...

If it's my own book, and a paperback, I'll break the spine and do whatever it takes so I can read comfortably. If it's a hardcover, or someone else's book, though, I'm careful with it.

Amy said...

I usually keep my books in pretty good condition. I do highlight them sometimes, but I can't stand to bend down the corners. And I try not to break the spine, but you obviously need to open the book wide enough to read.

I have been told that the margins are there for a reason - so that we can write our thoughts in the book. I can't bring myself to do that though.

Anonymous said...

I keep books in fairly good condition but like everything I own, I use them...along with the good china, the handmade quilts, and the expensive vanilla. A greater crime would be the pristine book that's never read.

I break the spines of most books, even the hard-backs but that's because I do write in my books. In order to use that inside margin, the book has to lie pretty flat. Pausing to write a comment or a question helps me really think about an idea. I see it as part of the conversation between myself and the author. The author has far more to say but I insert my own 2 cents now and then.

Actually, writing in my books is relatively new for me. I started writing in the margins and underlining about 10 years ago...sparingly at first. Perhaps it could be called therapy. I am ever so slowly overcoming my public school education which told me what to think. When I write in the margins, I'm writing MY comments, MY questions; I'm learning to think for myself.

One down-side is I don't loan my books without first considering what I've written in the margins! Do I trust the person enough with my naked thoughts?

Sharon in KY

Shimmy Mom said...

Thanks for your answers. Just after I did this post I worried that it was a boring in between question. But I have really enjoyed reading everyones answers.
Thanks again for your participation.

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Not boring at all! We bibliophiles love nerdy book questions like this . . . at least I do!

Mr. Mordecai said...

For those interested in reading some wonderful commentary on things like this, check out Ex Libris, by Anne Fadiman.

It has some wonderful commentary on all sorts of wonderful book topics, ranging from the challenges of merging libraries when two book lovers get married, to stories of maids chastising hotel tenants for the ways they are treating their books. All in all, it's a wonderful read. (I enjoyed it all the more because I read it while on a business trip in Chile and it gave me warm, wonderful feelings of home. Almost like Mrs. M. was right there beside me.)

Personally, though, I would never intentionally break the spine of a book. I've also never written in the margins of any book besides the scriptures. (Ironic, isn't it?)

Shimmy Mom said...

haha, yes it is ironic Mr. Mordecai, but I must admit that I am EXACTLY the same way.