Friday, November 5, 2010

kiss this book

reading megan's post the other day about lending books and then getting them back (when you get them back at all) in less-than-perfect condition, i certainly understand where she's coming from. i think for me, though, i'd prefer to have my damaged copy back rather than a new one that might not be the same as my original. the original is sometimes special - an early reader's copy, a gift, something sentimental...perhaps a reason it shouldn't have been lent in the first place (but how can you not? i want everyone to read my favourites! i thrust it upon them!)

it made me think about how i treat my books. i basically love them to death. i loved it the other month when marieke hardy came out with lipstick kisses all over the book (was it catcher in the rye?) on the first tuesday book club. i kiss my books.

here's a poem (not by me):

I kiss this book
with coffee-rings
and greasy thumbs.

I kiss this book
with butter dripped
from my toast.

I kiss this book
with dog-ears
and bath-steam.

I kiss this book
and make it mine.

--adam ford, from not quite the man for the job.

here are two other ways i love my books:

dog-ears to mark interesting bits.
and underlining, so i can remember the interesting bits later on, when i've forgotten them.

and i could only laugh this morning when i got out my well-loved copy of the messenger (markus zusak) to show you all to what extent i love my books, only for this to happen:
pages 6 through to 57 all over the floor. it doesn't matter, really, i have two more (whole) copies - how does this happen, i have multiples everywhere...sorry mama bear they probably belong to you - but it did hurt my heart a little to see the story explode. it's ok. i have sticky tape.


  1. pleeeeease read Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman for beautiful essays/memoir about book love - if you haven't already. (I also kiss and hug my books.)

  2. What a lovely post! gorgeous poem too. I also scribble all over books and underline. I love it when books go all squishy and crumpled from, well, too much love. jxx

  3. I have to be careful because my wife doesn't share my appreciation for the ways I imprint myself on books. If I'm reading one of hers I use a bookmark and try to be careful not to eat when reading them. Sometimes I think that makes me put my stamp on my own books even harder to compensate for this restraint.

  4. i shall seek it out, fiona.

    i love this book of poems, jen. they are all awesome. plus there are two about coffee, which is perfect for me as that is how many coffees i am trying to restrict myself to per day.

    i know, adam! i try to be careful with other people's belongings friend had conniptions when she saw that i leave my books upside down and pages splayed. now i am ever so careful with her books. (p.s. thank you for your poems! i also loved 'man bites dog' and still laugh out loud remembering it whenever i ride my bike thru north fitzroy)

  5. I love it! This is what makes books part of us and... - well, it isn't quite vice versa as well, except inside our heads.

    Borrowed books, I find, are sometimes the best read.

    Great post!

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