**updated to add links – I can’t believe I forgot those:(

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is:

Are you a spine breaker? Or a dog-earer? Do you expect to keep your books in pristine condition even after you have read them? Does watching other readers bend the cover all the way round make you flinch or squeal in pain?

Our family passes books around – as one finishes, someone else is waiting to grab it. Very often, books come back with coffee or diet coke stains on the pages, or little bites taken out of the page tops if the birds were anywhere near the reader. One of our newest members, Dickon the Terror of the Thames (a corgi puppy) loves to read, only he reads from the spine forward. We learned very quickly to put everything in the middle of the table because, although his legs are very short, his body if very long, and he can stretch himself quite tall.

Pets aside, we all love books and take care of them. Yes, there’s the odd spill, but it makes them look homey and loved. I’ve been in houses where the books look like they just came off the shelves and I wonder if they are just show pieces or if the owners actually read them. For me, if the book shows a little wear and tear, it probably is a good read because lots of others have read it before me. Some of the best books I’ve read had to be kept with a rubber band around them because they had been read so many times, the spines had disintegrated completely. That is a sign of a well loved book:)
I have a few, a very few volumes where my love for the book overcomes my love for the story. And those, I don’t loan out to others. But with everything else, if something awful happens (like someone eats the last chapter), books can be replaced.
How do you read your books? For more answers, go to Booking Through Thursday and see where you fall in the clean vs. scruffy challenge.


  1. Mo Says:

    Great answer!! Haven’t we *always* been told that it’s what’s on the INSIDE that matters??! And, for me, if the pages are falling out, and the cover is worn, that just says it’s prob’ly well-read, and so, worth the read! Have a great weekend!

  2. Heather Says:

    I totally agree… I wonder if people have bookshelves that look like the inside of Barnes & Noble, I wonder if they've really read those books.

  3. Smilingsal Says:

    My answer tells WHY I keep mine nice after I’ve read them.

  4. painted maypole Says:

    i don’t keep them pristine, but it’s an odd book that I’ll write in our dogear. I do on occasion, but more often I’ll write notes on a separate paper or in a journal

  5. Sunny Says:

    This is all very interesting! As I’m reading through everyone’s answers it looks like everyone “loves” their books, we just show it in different ways.Some love them so much they like (or don’t mind) them to “look” loved.Others love them so much they want them to stay looking nice.I’m one that likes them to look nice and even though they dont look like they’ve been read, they have been well read and well loved!I think it’s interesting how we all see it differently! Great post!

  6. bethany Says:

    bites taken out of the pages, that is awesome!!! haha!Oh, and i love your etsy hats. I will have to check and see how much we “need” one 🙂 happy btt!

  7. Cathy Says:

    Oh, for the book publishing days when it was easy to tell if someone read their books or not! Just open the book, and if the pages haven’t been cut, the book hasn’t been read! LOL

  8. noble pig Says:

    Passing books around is a great idea, good for you guys.

  9. Jeane Says:

    I’m in the middle, I guess. My shelves don’t look like Barnes and Noble, but my books aren’t so battered as to require rubber bands either. I try to take good care of them so they’ll last for many more readings, not because they’re cherished objects in and of themselves- paper, ink and glue.

  10. tuesday Says:

    It’s so true that the odd little fold or spill will make them look loved. Once I dropped sunscreen all over a book, and it’s like being back at the beach every time I re-read it!

  11. Jennifer Says:

    Yeah, there’s something nice about a book that looks well-read. =) I’m glad my dog has never developed a taste for books!

  12. Alice Teh Says:

    I love my books and they are well-read while still looking new… 😀

  13. Julia Says:

    I don’t dog ears or break my books, but I understand why you do it 🙂

  14. Marie Says:

    I like your attitude- very relaxed but sensible too! 🙂

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