Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Confessions of a Bibliophile

One of the things my mom taught my sister and I, by example, was to love reading. Another thing she taught us was to love books.

My fiction books (the picture is one grouping of books in our guestroom) are pretty pristine. It took me a long time to feel comfortable enough with my writing books to highlight and make notes on the pages. I have a wee bit of guilt when I do that, but the point of those books is infinitely different from the point of my novels.

Besides, I own them.

I've been checking a few books out of the library lately and am ready to string a few Book Bashers up. Creased pages? Have these people never heard of a bookmark?

One of the first Dean Koontz novels I checked out not only had creased pages, but wherever Koontz used a word that was more than two syllables, it was circled with a question mark. The second Koontz was just the same.

I think I'm following this reader through my local library. The book I'm currently leaving my bookmark in had an editing faux pas . . . corrected on the page by my nemesis.

Now, this is gross, but what are all of those ooky things on the pages? Am I going to catch something by reading books Creasers and Markers and Germy people have read?

Books checked out from the library are guests in my home. I need to treat them as guests. And when I crack them open to read, I'm a guest within those pages. I need to be a good guest.

What? Am I wrong here?

What I'm currently reading: Fox Evil by Minette Walters
What I'm currently working on: Some practical issues in an early scene that I hadn't caught the gazillion times I'd rewritten it before. Sheesh.

It's all better with friends.


  1. I agree with you about library books, they are guests in my home and I look after them. I own over 2500 books myself. I would never dream of damaging a book. On the one occasion where I accidently dropped a book and it got wet I promptly replaced it with a new one even though the damage
    was barely noticeable.

    BTW I enjoy your blog. May I put a link to it one my blog?

    My blog is


  2. Lillian, I read your reviews quite often on DorothyL.

    I would love a link and I'll do the same.

    BTW, one of my best friends was a page creaser. She's intelligent and well educated . . . but no one had ever told her it wasn't such a good idea. I rectified the situation.

  3. I read or give a quick look-over to dozens of library books every month, and I can't remember the last time I had a damaged or marked-up one. Of course I tend to get hold of them when they are quite new, but sometimes they are back titles and the same think is true. Is it perhaps geographical? Library users where you live are worse-behaved?

  4. Oh gosh, I hope it's not because of where I live. Actually, I don't think so because I heard from a friend in Northern California that she never checks out library books because of the germs. LOL. And I live in Colorado, where people seem pretty tidy, in general.

    Maybe I'm just choosing the ultra popular books that tend to be read by people while eating. . . .

  5. As a librarian and avid reader I too am alarmed and disgusted by the way patrons handle library materials. Some of the worst tirades at the circ desk have occured when a patron is billed for damage to a book.

    I have seen people return books in a thunderstorm holding the books over their head as an umbrella! They're amazed when we mention the damage issue.

  6. I'm glad to have found I'm not alone . . . sort of.

    It makes me wonder if people take care of the things in their own homes as poorly, and if not, have they forgotten they've also paid for the books and CDs?

    "I can do what I want because my tax dollars paid for it" vs. pride of ownership.


  7. I am a heavy library user and am amazed at the number of folks that need to correct something they disagree with, write a comment in the text, fold pages down, or the worst, leave some weird looking substance behind. I can deal with the text and comments and be just annoyed, but the weird substance thingies are just plain gross.

    Kevin R. Tipple

  8. That weird substance thingie has me the most freaked out too, Kevin.

    They should sell some kind of anti-bacterial spray by the checkout.

  9. Or, like the book bags, they could sell plastic gloves with the logo of the library. They could even come out in different colors. Pink for romance, green for gardening and black ones with raised logo lettering for mystery. :))


  10. Kevin, you are some kind of scary-funny.

  11. As a librarian, I agree with most of the things mentioned here. There are times that I am completely appalled with regarding the returns of a library book, but apparently it's just me because my library board doesn't want me charging people for damage, etc.
    My favorite book return was one that came back reeking with cat urine. It had been placed in a plastic bag and then set aside I think for a couple of weeks before someone realized it was a library book and they returned it to the book drop. The ever polite librarian that I am, I looked up to see who had it and then drove it back myself telling them that they could keep it and the replacement cost would be assessed to their account. They didn't understand why. They've never returned to the library which is one of the issues the library board has. They'd rather users use (and sometimes destroy) books than not use them at all.
    On the other hand, I don't have so much problem with smoky books, food particles left behind, etc. I know that some find this stuff offensive but that's where the whole "public" thing comes in, IMHO. I know some people who refuse to use public libraries because they hate the idea of even touching a book that someone else has had in their home, doing God knows what! Reading on the toilet, anyone? And that is their choice and an understandable one. But not everyone has that luxury and so it goes. If you really gave thought to what all could happen in or around a library book, you might never check another one out.
    Now, let's talk about public access computers...

  12. Shannon, your comment made me consider the purpose of libraries and the people they serve.

    The balance must be very difficult, but I wonder how many more people would avail themselves of libraries and books and all that they offer, if the standards were higher. Would the loss of patrons out number the gain?

    Because we can't afford to own a home in every city we ever visit, we continue to use hotel rooms. And man, oh man, those places can sometimes make the worst library book seem pristine.

    My hat goes off to the people who strive to effect a balance . . . in whatever they do.