I Like to Fondle Books.

Hello, My Name is Jules and I’m a book fondler.

"Ma'am, the lanyard clearly says 'rapist'."

“Ma’am, the lanyard clearly says ‘rapist’.”

But this wasn’t always the case. Back when I was young and silly…

"Makin' out with a dog because it feels so good...nom nom..."

“Makin’ out with a dog because it feels so good…nom nom…”

…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.

Taking a crap and reading is hard, yo.

Taking a crap and reading is hard, yo.

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.

It's hard I know.

It’s hard I know.

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.

"Yeah, I kinda ruined those. Sorry about that."

“Yeah, I kinda ruined those for everyone. Sorry about that.”

I was a stingy asshole back in the day (apologies to my 13-year-old self).

But not really, Christ, look at that hair.

But not really, Christ, look at that hair.

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.

BOOKS. Not boobs.

BOOKS. Not boobs.

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.

"WHEEEE, books!"

“WHEEEE, books!” “Shut up, Elizabeth.”

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.

Unless of course you hold the Ebola virus then I cannot help you.

Unless of course you hold the Ebola virus then I cannot help you.

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.

This photo says all you need to know.

This photo says all you need to know.

I imagine it’s a nice place.

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  • Reply


    February 10, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Haha, that third picture – my parents always got mad at me for reading on the loo and not coming out for ages!
    I do just about every horrible thing to my books, but I don’t write in them. Never. Always wondered why that was… maybe because reading my own words again during a reread would distract me and throw me out of the story.

  • Reply


    February 11, 2013 at 12:11 am

    I ADORE YOU, JULES! Yes, I fondle and sometimes kiss my books!

  • Reply

    Michael Gillan Maxwell

    February 11, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Yup to all of it! I’ve tried Kindle(on my IPad) and I have books on that thing that I’ve completely forgotten about. Out of sight out of mind. It also makes a weird sizzling sound when it’s dropped in the tub, or, in my case, the toilet, and it doesn’t work nearly as well as books do for leveling tables or holding open windows.

  • Reply

    susan tepper

    February 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Jules Jules Jules!!!!!!!!!!!! You are one in a million!!!!!!! Keep fondling, keep these posts coming, they brighten my whole day! And those boobs– I mean books…. geez. Gotta get me a few.

  • Reply

    Brian Stoll

    February 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    This email (and subject) came right after a sex offender alert in my zip code email. I thought i was already being pinged by my new neighbor

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