Crimes Committed Against Books
A book is not an ordinary object – it’s a piece of art. As such, it must be cherished, protect.
But not everybody thinks this way and, unsensible, they attempt against the book’s integrity. Criminals!
There are in particular two crimes committed against books that disturb me:
- Fold down the corner of the pages (dog-ears);
- Highlight sentences.
Folding the pages
Some time ago, at a friend’s house, I took a peek at his bookshelf (as I always do when going to someone’s house). I did it not only out of curiosity but also to assess a potential borrowing.
I opened one of the books and there it was, the proof of the crime: several dog-ears, pages with marks of having been folded down, with no mercy.
I called my friend and confronted him with his crime. He declared himself not guilty, after all, ‘it’s just a book, Leonor’ he said.
My obsessive side *damn it* told me to unfold the pages that still had the ear-dogs but, instead, I kept browsing through his shelve.
From his wife, I borrowed two books, by Herman Hess (her favorite author). She doesn’t fold the pages. There’s only one criminal in the family
Like my friend, lots of people fold the corner of the page because they don’t have a bookmarker. But that is merely an appeal to the imagination! When you don’t want to memorize the page you stopped reading (fair enough), the only thing you have to do is to pick the first thing you can put your hands on and tuck it between the pages of the book.
I’ve had used napkins, shopping receipts, letters, hairpins and even cup bases. To name a few
A note: my diversity of bookmarkers doesn’t mean I don’t have any, but that sometimes they ‘vanish’. Maybe they’re having a party with my lost hair hooks
Underline the book
Underline a book is like scratching a painting. There’s no turning back; the book has lost its authenticity. It’s no longer a book but a piece of scrawled pages.
Ink in a book is only allowed on the initial pages, for the dedication, or to sign and date (which I do).
But when I claim that is not acceptable to underline books I’m not considering the academic and technical ones. Those are to be used, turned upside down, highlighted, written, cursed,… for me, those are instrumental, to be used, not read.
In this virtual world, I’ve read criminals testimonies justifying their acts, reasons to mark a book with ink. They do it either to take notes, to leave a comment, to highlight an important idea. No no no! Please make notes on a paper, take a picture, mark the excerpt with a post-it,…
By reading my thoughts about books, you can imagine that when a friend ask to borrow a book from me, I make him solely swear he will treat it as if it’s carrying a raw egg (true story). If he commits a crime against my books, the sentence will be severe.
*Is it me or I had just admitted to having an obsessive relationship with my books?*