Book Revenge by Deb Eileen

This may be a shocking confession. It seems worse coming from someone who writes. I’m ashamed, but it’s time to come clean.

My name is Eileen Cook and I abuse books.

Yes, I am one of those people who bends the corner of the page over instead of using a bookmark. If it is a passage I really enjoy- I underline it. In INK! I read them in bed, with the spines broken wide. I read them in the bath- their pages warping. (And yes there have been some unfortunate death by drowning incidents.) I read while eating meals so there are pages crusted together with goops of peanut butter or curry sauce. I keep them stacked by the bed where they get stepped on and from time to time gnawed on by one of the dogs. They roll around in the back seat of my car waiting for me to read them. I promise over and over that next time I’ll be better- but I usually fall back to old habits.

I behave myself if it is a book I borrowed from someone else, but if it belongs to me the book better not pull a prima donna act. It better be hearty if it wants to survive around here. I have books everywhere. My great aunt once had the foundation of her house crack because she had stockpiled so many canned goods. (Living through the depression can do that to you.) I suspect at some point all the books in my house will crack my foundation. They are piled in corners and I fear they may begin to protest the rough treatment. I’m so out numbered it’s hard to know what they could get up to. With my stack of to-be-read getting higher all the time there is the very real risk I may be crushed to death. I can think of worse ways to go.

Are you good to your books?

13 Replies to “Book Revenge by Deb Eileen”

  1. Hmmmm….I’m reading a book called JULIE AND JULIA and since page one I’ve been thinking, when I’m done, I HAVE to give this to Eileen. She would LOVE it. Now I’m rethinking this… Just kidding. I am somewhere in the middle. I eat while I read…and I’ve been known to ruin a book in the bath…but for the most part, I’m pretty easy on books. I would never write in one and I definitely don’t bend pages. I have an uncanny ability to say, “Okay…I’m on page 156.” shut the book and the next time I come back to it, I remember what page it was that I stopped on. I do use bookmarks occasionally, but they’re scraps of paper, not the cute/funny/gorgeous ones people always give me for Christmas. Those I’m saving…for what? I have no idea. It’s like the blank journals people give me…I’m saving those too…for something really profound, I reckon.

  2. When you see her in another couple of weeks, ask your mom what she uses for a bookmark. I use one of those electronic keys, that look like a credit card, the hotels give you as my bookmark. She uses anything handy – an anvil, 2×4, stapler, M-14, or car. ANYTHNG that will prevent that book from lying flat. If she wasn’t so beautiful in so many other ways to make up for it, I don’t know what I would do.

  3. I’m afraid I have a double standard. I collect signed, first editions and I treat them like holy relics — never crack the spine, wash my hands before I read them, keep them away from the cat (who sometimes likes to bite the corners), and all hardcovers get that treatment, but I will bend the corners on softcovers and frequently take a highlighter to them. I used to use boarding passes for bookmarks when I was constantly traveling and now I need to use a proper bookmark — the kind the bookstore gives me, or I’m not happy. I’m weird.

  4. Eileen, I’m shocked! Hee hee. I’m nicer to my books, but do occasionally bend a corner. When my mother reads a book though, it looks like ten people have read it. I don’t know how she manages that! Well, since this post, maybe I do…

  5. This laugh me laugh and nod in recognition, Eileen. I am also very hard on my books. In fact I even write notes for my own writing on the back pages of books on my bedside table that are water-logged and dog-eared. Instead of abuse, I think of it as loving attention.

  6. Great post, Eileen! I’m mostly good to my books, but not always. I recently gave my sister The Dangerous Book for Boys at her baby shower (assuming the book would stay whole and fresh for eight years–ha!!!!) and right at the shower people started reading it, cracking the spine to lay it pageside-down on the table. I remember thinking, “Wow, what a dumb idea to give a gift that has to wait eight years…”

    Plus, their cats like to chew on books. And they’re moving in a few weeks. Not my best idea.

  7. Ohmigosh, my poor books! And I take them to the fitness center, in the sauna, in the steam room, and in the whirlpool. They definitely look well-read.

    And then I get embarrassed and hide them, LOL.

    But there’s a reprieve. Did you know that paperback books will last longer if you break the spine right away? If you bend the spine every few pages, then the glue will stretch. Otherwise, ten years from now, you’ll open an unbroken book, and the pages will just fall out because the glue never got stretched.

  8. Oh, Eileen, I knew we were literary soul mates! I beat my books into a bleeding pulp. I defy the spines to not crack. In fact, I’m not happy until I’ve broken the spine down into malleable condition. I am most definitely a slave master to my books. It’s a running joke with my friend, who gets many of my book hand-me-downs, that they’re twice as thick as the store version because I’ve dropped them in the bathtub or swimming pool. Never have I used an actual bookmark, but I’ve been known to tear a piece of toilet tissue to mark my spot. Usually I just have it opened and bent all the way backward to save my page, then shove the book in my purse where it can’t dare flip shut. At the gym I’ve devised a clever system with those really big fat binder clips to keep open each side while I’m on the cross-trainer. It’s far far easier with paperbacks, those–the hardbacks are too much work at the gym.
    But at least my books are loved, whereas with things like candles, I tend to NOT use them, like thinking there will be some great occasion to use them, but that never seems to happen and eventually they’re past their prime and unused. At least with my books, they’ve been well-loved. Well, if not loved, then well-used…

  9. I abuse only paperbacks. I’ll dogear in place of a bookmark. I only highlight business non-fiction, however, and I dogear all the pages with highlights. For when I highlight both sides of a page, I have perfected the double dog-ear. Handy for magazines too.

  10. I believe that books are their safest when they’re in a pile … pile by the bed, in piles on my desk, piled on top of each other inside the bookcase and on top of the filled-up bookcase. they do seem to go for safety in numbers.

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