Sunday, March 31, 2013

3 Rules of Book Etiquette

Adam C. Zern shares a few thoughts on what not to do with your books:

"I admit I can be a somewhat quirky person.  I have some pet peeves that generally do not afflict other people.  For example, gum-popping makes me go into a Hulk-like rage, and often I have to physically remove myself from a situation in which someone is popping their gum before I become too agitated.  Therefore, the several 'do nots' of book etiquette below may not bother others all that much, but I think they're worth taking into consideration.

Reading in the Tub
1.) Do Not Read in the Tub: By way of full disclosure, I have read in the tub before.  Albeit, I did it when I was feeling rather ill and looking for anyway to distract myself.  I, of course, regretted reading in the tub since it's almost inevitable that some moisture found its way on the pages and it bugged me until I finished the book and shelved it.  Unlike oil and water, paper and water mix just fine.  It's just that the result is less than desirable, unless you're making paper mache.  The effects of wet pages can be that they get stuck together, get torn when you attempt to separate them, a swelling of the pages and therefore the book, and a general and overall ugliness of the book.  Reading and bathing are distinct activities that ought not to be combined.

2.) Do Not Dog-Ear: I honestly can't say how many people dog-ear their books.  I haven't for years
Dog Earing a Book
and years.  I have gone so far as to use an old receipt or a scrap of paper to mark my place in a book instead of dog-earing a page.  Not dog-earing a book is a simple way to keep your books in a good condition.  I like displaying the books I have read.  Each one is, in a sense, a personal trophy.  I don't want one of my trophies to be smudged or chipped.  Why would I want the same for a book?  Furthermore, if someone were to ever borrow a book from you, which I very much oppose, you wouldn't want to hand someone something that looks ill-kept.  It's just tacky.
3.) Do Not Bend the Cover or Spine: Perhaps more than the reading sins above, I find this one the most egregious.  A book is not a can of tuna needing to be pried open.  The eventual outcome of such stretching, pulling, and overall abuse is a lame and perpetually turned out book that usually can't stand straight up or be displayed with any degree of pride.  Magazines have flimsy covers because they're intended to be thrown out after a brief reading.  Books have a more sturdy nature and ought to be treated as a possession not as disposable garbage.
Bending cover and spine of a book
No doubt there are other shameful ways to treat books, but these are the most common in my experience.  'As long as they're reading,' some may say, 'who cares how they care for their books?'  Perhaps there is some truth to it, but I care for things I care about it.  And I really care about my books.  If you do as well, I think you'll avoid the above 'don'ts'.  Who knows?  Maybe it will make you appreciate books even more."

1 comment:

  1. Baloney! And phooey! Unless you plan on becoming a rare book collector it is absolutely okay to read in the tub (life doesn't get better), dog ear the pages (notes and underline as well), and crack that baby open (so you can hold the book easier while in the bathtub). READ ON TRUE BOOK LOVERS. READ ON.

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