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Well-Loved or Well-Kept?

October 24, 2010

This feeds off of another blog post I had read a few weeks ago.  The discussion is whether you keep books as pristine as possible or allow them to be well-read (you know, dog-ear the pages, crack the spine, pages yellowed, lots of shelfwear, etc).

My library is well-kept.  Only a few books are well-loved.  I have one book from about ten years ago that only now is starting to become fragile, but I’ve read it probably more than twenty times.  Ah, the mark of a good book–re-readability.  Anyway…

Most of my books barely have a break in the spine.  Shelfwear is minimal on the dust jackets or covers, and I can’t stand it when I see people doggie-ear the page corners (if that’s an unfamiliar term, it means to fold over the page corner to save your spot).  It also makes me cringe when I see someone write in a book, even with a pencil.

This doesn’t mean I read a book once and then it sits on my shelf for ages untouched.  My Mercedes Lackey collection has been read through so many times I’ve lost count, but those books still look as if I’d bought them yesterday.  My book are well-read, but they’re also well-kept.  I’ll admit it is sort of a running joke in my family about my fanaticism to keeping a book alive and well and clean.  But I do things this way to keep the book on my shelf longer.  The better condition a book is in, the longer I will be able to fully enjoy it.

How do you keep your books?  Are they well-loved or well-kept?  Or maybe a combination of the two?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark K. permalink
    October 29, 2010 4:46 PM

    Count me among the “well-kept”. I remove the dustjackets form my books when I read them too — but that’s so I can preserve them! They go right back on the moment I’m done with the book.

    Like you I have a problem with finding underlining or highlighting (shudder!) in a book. When I need to underline something, though, I do it in pencil, which has the virtue of being erasable. For me the underlining issue is especially important when it comes to buying a used book — no matter how much time I have spent looking for a copy, if it contains so much as sentence underlined in ink it goes right back on the shelf.

  2. October 28, 2010 4:13 PM

    Most of my books are well-kept. I don’t generally dog-ear pages or highlight/write in books, unless it was for a project in college, general note-taking, etc. These days, I try to keep my books in good shape — and usually take the dust jackets off the books I’m reading so as not to dirty or rip them!

    • Kira permalink*
      October 28, 2010 10:38 PM

      Lol, I take the dust jackets off usually because the book likes to slide out of it and it annoys me!

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