in which i wonder if i should snap some spines

I've been asking myself this weekend whether I need to relax. I'm a tightly wound coil, ready to spring at any given moment, a failing that I am well aware of. Ian says I am, at times, one of the most tense people he knows. This makes me sad - I don't want to be tense, but I find it so hard to switch off. Perhaps I'll take up yoga, but that's another story for another day. My point today is that I wonder if my inability to relax has spread itself to my books. They have to be shelved in alphabetical order; I have a pile at work that I can't take home because I don't have space on my bookshelves to put them and having them in the 'wrong' place makes me uneasy. I never fold over the corner of a page to use it as a bookmark. & I try my hardest not to snap the spines of my books. Sometimes this bothers me so much that I barely open the book to read it. I'd much rather tip the book from side to side than snap the spine and open it fully. Sometimes books look worn, sometimes spines get snapped or a little creased, sometimes corners get folded over and books that are carried in my bag or in a suitcase get a little worn. It's a fact of life, and I can deal with it, I'd just rather not have too. I don't know quite why this bothers me so much - I love old books, pretty, old, worn and bent and creased books with that musty smell and yellowing pages make me very happy, and some of my favourite books are ones that are falling apart. My bookshelf is a mixture of amazing old books that I'm almost afraid to touch in case they die and pretty new books that look like they've not been opened. I like old books to be worn so why do I try so hard to stop my boosk fro mbeing the old worn books of r the future? If I can keep a book in pristine condition then I will, and I always thought I was looking after my books.
I lent a book to a friend a couple of weeks ago. She returned it to me at weekend with a little note saying that she was so scared of breaking the spine that she'd ordered it from the library and this made me feel bad: I don't want to be like the book police, I don't want people to be afraid of reading my books. I want to share them, and it hit me suddenly, that what I saw as just taking care of my books might actually come across as my being a little obsessive....I thought about grabbing a few books off my shelf and snapping the spines just to prove that I could, that I wasn't some meany pants who strikes fear into the hearts of those she lends to. I couldn't do it.

Comments

  1. Was it Room by any chance?

    I say don't snap - you know I say don't snap! Although the alphabetical thing might be taking it a bit far! Next thing you know all your cd's and dvd's will be in alphabetical order too. Oh wait...

    xoxo

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