Are you a spine breaker? Or a dog-earer? 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 like to keep my books in good shape. I don’t really go out of my way to make them remain pristine, nor do I expect them to be white and new for too long, but I do not crack the spine and I do not dog ear the pages. And yes, it makes me wince when other people do so! I think the worst is bending the cover all the way around. There really is no need for it, it just makes the book look bad and I think it’s more irritating to hold the cover back there than it is just to crack the spine and hold it wide open, as that’s what you’re basically doing anyway. If you have a reason that you fold the cover back, please let me know, I have often wondered why people do this.
I am a bit of a hypocrite actually, because I did crack spines and dog-ear pages regularly when I was younger. I’m not sure why I stopped or why I did it in the first place, but it was as if all of a sudden I decided I wanted my books to look nice and last longer. Now I look on those poor cracked spines and bent pages from my teenage years with sadness. On the other hand, I love used books because often the spine’s already been cracked, so they’re easier to read and I don’t feel guilty that I defaced them since someone else got there first. Same with library books, but if the book is in good condition, I’ll do my best to make sure it stays that way. I only take advantage when it’s already been done.
Does that make sense at all? Probably not.
I almost always use bookmarks nowadays and I really love them; I’m trying to build a little collection. They do get beat up from time to time, but I have a lot of them now so I don’t feel too guilty about using them. If I don’t have a bookmark to hand, any scrap of paper will do, although I do my best not to put money in a book because I’m sure that’s when I’ll decide to stop reading that particular book and lose the money.
I don’t write in books either. I had the hardest time learning to do it in college and I’ve since rejoiced that my English lit degree is over and I can read my books without notes for the rest of my life.
What about you? Do you keep your books pristine or do you bend pages and crack spines?