I Like to Fondle Books.
February 10, 2013
February 10, 2013
Hello, My Name is Jules and I’m a book fondler.
But this wasn’t always the case. Back when I was young and silly…
…I used to operate under the assumption that books were to be treated like precious artifacts. Not to be manhandled, or pried too far open, or dog eared.
I would read in the bathtub all the time and occasionally drop books into the murky water. This would commence the frantic flopping around rescue of probably a Sweet Valley Twins or Christopher Pike book. I was near tears when this happened, believing I had treated the book horribly, ruined it forever.
Imagine me, back in the day, living like Regina Morrow from Sweet Valley High every time I tarnished a book. Except picture the photo of Bruce Patman as the actual book.
And when I borrowed books to other people, you better believe I was on watch that my book was returned in appropriate condition. If the book I loaned came back creased, spine dented, or dog eared this usually resulted in a scolding to the borrower as I was not allowed to give public executions.
I was a stingy asshole back in the day (apologies to my 13-year-old self).
But somehow this miraculously changed. Within the last 10 years, my feelings on fondling books have done the old switcheroo – kinda like a Thai prostitute on a hot and confusing Saturday night.
Now I play fast and loose with my books.
The reason for this is simple.
As I read and reread books over and over again I came to appreciate the wear and tear. A tattered book is a loved book. It was read well and appreciated. Now if I drop a book in the bath, I calmly retrieve it, sip my wine and continue reading, letting the pages dry. I dog ear books at the good, juicy parts. I write in them. I highlight. I record my thoughts and emotions. It’s important to me. Because when I go back and read it, I’ll remember. When I loan it to others they can see my words and silently mouth what-that-fuck?
These days, I’m a cavalier bastard. Like Elizabeth Wakefield, except pretend Todd Wilkins is a book. The motorcycle can be a couch because I just really don’t care for the outdoors.
This doesn’t mean I’m cruel. I don’t intentionally use books as scapegoats, or birth control, or as shields in a back alley knife fights. I just don’t sweat a little rippin’ and tearin’.
My feelings about lovingly tattered books are carried over into how I generally feel about much in life. Current and future wrinkles, they are mine, so back the fuck off. I have laughed and loved and lived. I have scars and I am still alive. You can’t avoid them and you should be proud of what you hold.
This is what makes me a book fondler. I shall probably be one until the end of time. Or until they fingerprint me and lock me away in book prison.
I imagine it’s a nice place.