Breaking the Spine

The way I treat my books would horrify most book bloggers, who have shelves lined with pristine book spines and pages that have never, ever been dog-eared. The books on my shelf have a lifespan because I’m guilty of folding the corners of pages to mark where I left off. I write in the margins and underline passages that are meaningful to me. And the condition of the book cover and spine is a reflection of how much a love a book; the more I love a book, the more worn it will become because I’ve read it so often– that’s why pages fall from my copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read that book. I feel no shame about this, and expecting books that I love to remain flawless is impractical to me. But then, my mom bought me replacement copies for all of my Harry Potter book this Christmas…

Harry Potter covers

The book spines have not a single crack and the edges are not at all torn or worn. Most importantly! They still have the artwork on the front. My old copies are hardback and I seem to have lost all of the dust jackets. It’s been so long since I’ve seen the cover art that I have forgotten what some of it looks like. Yikes!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Cover O

These books are beautiful…and suddenly I feel afraid to read them because I don’t want to tarnish them. I find that I’m holding the books delicately, I’m not opening them all they way, and I’m using a book mark…well, I’m using a receipt…

When will this madness end?! I’m half-tempted to just crack the spines. Get it done and over with so I can read on without anxiety.

For those of you who prefer flawless books, how do you keep your books in good condition when you read them? For those of you who don’t mind that a book looks well-read, have you ever come across a book that suddenly you were afraid to handle?