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Worn books are the best books.

May 18, 2011

I don’t like books to look pristine and neat.  A book that looks like it has hardly been touched giving the impression it has been preserved in a glass display cabinet is surely a book not worth reading. After all, a book is the portal, the key into another precious world of imagination and a glorious insight into distant and exotic lives and so any good books should not be prim and proper looking.

They (books) should look like somebody has enjoyed, hungered and cared for them. A book’s outer appearance should reflect, that for a short period of time, they became an intricate and personal part of somebodies’ life.

Pages curled and dog-eared at the corners, worn after being lovingly thumbed through as the reader has flicked back and forth reminding themselves of an earlier character or plot, the spine cracked and worn from being propped up here and there-on the bus, in bed, on holiday, by a tree, the possibilities of where are endless because the beauty of a book is you can take them anywhere and instantly escape away into them.

The edges of the pages perhaps a little brown and ink-stained from being taken in and out of a bag, a scattering of pencil marks throughout, highlighting a meaningful sentence and its echoes of connotations that meant significance to the reader at that moment in their life and was worth noting.

A sprinkling of pages… with their top corner turned in, an old marker to indicate to the reader where to reconvene with the story they left, where to forget about their own lives and immerse themselves in the lives of the characters they’ve come to know personally.

And when you buy a book from a secondhand book shop and discover a handwritten note in the front to indicate they had once been given as a gift, or a name and date of purchase pencilled in the front cover all of a sudden the book itself has it’s own history and story in it’s own right and you will become part of that as it’s next owner.

For a story in a book can never be owned but shared, it is there to behold, consider and remind anybody that wants to know that life has many twists and turns and so the best books are those that physically show these twists and turns most proudly.

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