Books – how do you like yours and do you want mine?

As part of Saturday’s World Book Night events thousands of books were given away with the idea that they would be read, loved and passed on… again and again.

I spent the evening at Glasgow’s sumptuous Mitchell Library where as part of the Aye Write festival Sarah Waters was talking about her book Fingersmith, which was one of the titles included in the giveaway.

What’s not to love about sharing books?

On the face of it you’re passing on a treasure to a friend, allowing someone to discover something new, preserving the environment and fighting against the rise and rise of the e-reader.

But last week’s book group discussion made me realise that it’s not always the case. (We were chatting about Nigel Farndale’s Blasphemer – which got a resounding “OK” and is a case of far too many ideas and too few sympathetic characters cluttering up some excellent writing)
One of the girls mentioned that one of the others always read in the bath so her books had that those puffy, wavy edges.

Another shuddered and said she was getting better, but she really didn’t like books that had a ‘handled’ look.

Someone told of a friend who doesn’t even break the spine of a book. I imagined reading from a half-open book must be like not standing up straight or wearing shoes that are too small.

Then there was the fold or not fold to keep your place debate. I do – is it bad form? And while I don’t read in the bath often enough, I have been known to leave greasy fingermarks and crumbs between the pages. I think it shows evidence of a book well relished.

So how do you like yours? And, furthermore, would you like mine when I’m done with it?

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  1. says

    I will read books no matter what they're condition. A much loved, much thumbed book is like an old friend.
    I have recently joined book crossing – where books are released into the wild to be read again!
    I'd love to read that book and then I can release it!

  2. says

    Sharing books is good – as long as people return them in the condition they were given.

    I don't like pages folded at the edge to mark where you've stopped reading, much prefer book marks, even a scrap of newspaper is better than folding.

    What am I reading just now? “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett was passed on by my wife, Maggie and is a classic case of don't judge a book by its cover. really getting into it.

    Enjoyed the post.

  3. says

    BNM, It's yours when I've done with it. I like the idea of book crossing, I'm going to read more about it.

    Mike, thanks. The Help is fantastic, we read it in the book group. I just loved the characters.
    The problem with returning books in the same condition is that if you're a read in the bath kind of person, it's just not going to happen.

  4. says

    My neighbours and me have been sharing books for the last year or so. I've read authors that I would never have picked up in a store and been delighted by them. I totally agree about reading a book where the spine must be bent to enjoy it thoroughly. I can't read a book any other way so if someone has lent me a book with the spine intact then they get it back with it well and truly bent all the way through! I try not to spill stuff on them though, that generally annoys the lender I think!

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