I feel like quite a good chunk of book lovers prefer to have their books in pristine condition. Which is something I’ve never felt when it comes to my own books. I’ve been dog-earing my own copies of books for as long as I can remember and I’ve started to highlight and write in my books in recent years. Some of you guys might consider what I’m doing damaging my books – but I don’t see it that way at all. And I’d like to tell you guys why.
The most important aspect for me is that I want my books to tell a story. I want people who take a look at my shelves and see the spines of my books to be able to tell which books have been read over and over again. Which stories I keep going back to. It can be a great conversation starter and give someone an idea of what kind of stories you like to read.
And even if the exterior doesn’t tell you much about how often I’ve read a book because the spine is in perfect condition (this mainly applies to hardcovers in my case), the interior definitely will. Either because I have highlighted a bunch of scenes (I am definitely an extensive highlighting type of person) or because I’ve written little notes into the margins of what I was feeling and/or thinking while reading that particular book at any given time.
It’ll even give me a look at myself a year or more ago. Tell me what scenes or relationships I really enjoyed. Which aspects of a story I was really enjoying. Was it the comedy? The flirting? It’s all going to be there in the margins. And as I’ve said before, I really love going back into books I’ve read before and look at what I marked up. Especially when I feel like being reunited with certain characters or character dynamics.
To me, a pristine book is something I want to see in libraries or the bookstore. It’s never something I expect to find on someone else’s shelves. Even though I am a huge fan of the look of shelves upon shelves filled with pristine books. It’s really calming! But if we’re ignoring aesthetics, then please give me all the ‘damaged’ books.
What are you guys’ thoughts on pristine vs ‘damaged’ books? Do you have a preference for your own shelves and if so, why? Do you feel the need to only have pristine books on your shelves? And are you always conscious of the fact that you might be damaging your book while reading it? Let’s discuss in the comments below!