This week’s word is…
I have a touch of this condition, as my heaving bookshelves and the numerous boxes of books in various closets and the attic demonstrate. However, as books seem to be getting more and more expensive, and with the rise of eBooks/Kindle, I admit I buy far fewer books these days than I did in my youth. I am a regular visitor to my local library and frequently request new books I long to read from them. They provide an excellent service and are always happy to chat about new arrivals.
I do have a pal who suffers pretty badly from bibliomania… the extent to which I discovered recently.
We were having a mildly competitive discussion about our love of books, keeping it friendly but each secretly wanting to “out-bibliophile” each other, when he revealed his obsession with keeping the books of spines completely uncreased. Thinking he was joking, (as a true sign of how much I love a book is how cracked the spine is, with pages falling out from being read over and over again), I laughed. His face remained serious… He explained that he reads in such a way as to ensure the spine of his books never crease, not even a tiny bit. I argued about how uncomfortable that would be, as I usually bend the covers over so I can read lying down. His face was a picture when he heard this!
A mixture of disbelief, disgust and rage…
Apparently if he lends out books, which he likes to do, he fully expects them to be returned in brand spanking new, store-bought condition, pristine… as if they had never been touched. Virgin books.
When I asked if he folded the corners of pages down I sent him over the edge. I explained how my books have coffees spills, chocolate fingerprints, broken spines and ratty corners.
For me loving books means they go places with me, in the bottom of my bag, in the bath, spine bent over as I lie on my side reading in bed, on buses and trains and planes… they wear the marks of my affection like love bites. You can tell which books are my favourites, not by how well kept they are, but by how damaged they look, how well thumbed they look.
I am a bibliophile and I have a touch of bibliomania but, (maybe because of my BDSM leanings), I love with a distinct lack of gentleness!
Here’s to all the book lovers, book collectors and logophiles everywhere.
Just don’t lend me your book if you are as… anal, (yeah! I said it!), as my good buddy!
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