Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I have to disagree. I do love opening a new book - the fresh ink and paper smell, the smooth pages - but old, well-read books have a certain charm.
Go to a second-hand bookstore and take a book off the shelf. Note the condition of the cover and the page edges. Now open it. Perhaps the dog-ears have been turned back, but the creases are still there. Little scars left by the previous owner. You may see imperfections, but those creases are so much more.
These are the places where the reader was forced to stop. Perhaps it grew late and the reader struggled to make it to the end of the chapter. Or maybe the book was reluctantly put aside for more urgent things: the end of a commute, a crying baby, a knock at the door.
Maybe those lines mark the pages that were the most important, that held the best lines, the juiciest scenes, the most intriguing dialogue.The reader was marking his or her favourite parts of the book so that they could be revisited again and again.
So many of my books have the best parts marked by a bend at the corner.
Sometimes dog-ears and worn covers are not evidence of a careless owner. Sometimes they are the sign of a well loved book.