I have read a lot of books over the years. Not as many since having kids but I enjoy a good book. So, what does the condition of a book tell you about it?
To me, the condition of a book tells its own story. It speaks of its journey from print to hands. Some books leave the shelves and have one owner. These books are either very loved or kept in a box until someone decides to part with them. The books that are parted with may have been a one time read for someone, enjoyed, recommended, then passed on for others to enjoy. In reverse, it may not have been enjoyed by the reader or the reader didn’t prioritize it as important.
Library books are likely to have passed hand to hand. Some by those that don’t respect books, some are worse condition because they were much loved by the borrowers. Some people have a great respect for the quality of a book. They are careful not to crease the pages or break the binding. Others have no respect for books and will mistreat them causing them to fall apart, ripped pages, stepped on, etc.
I have had some books that I’ve read and wouldn’t dream of parting with. They were greatly enjoyed, given to me by someone I’ve loved and lost, or helped shape the way I live in some way. These are cherished books. Does this mean these books are in pristine condition? It depends. The books I was given by loved ones past were already in used, varying condition. My grandma gave me several poem books that I go back and read when I really miss her. I’ve read and enjoyed them but they are now in a safe place to protect them so I can treasure them with the thought of her for a long time.
Other books that I have read a couple times, loved, and knew in a few years I would want to re-read will appear in closer to pristine condition. Books like my Bible that I read daily or are in a place that my family shares, those books look a little more tattered. Does this mean these books are not loved and cared for? No, it means those books have journeyed through our daily lives. They have seen miles, laughter, tears, been opened at random and referenced often. These books show the years of wear and tear from being most loved. They may have splatters of food, wet marks where something spilled near them, writing of special notes for reference, papers in between its pages that give examples or truth examples found on those pages. These books are the most cherished of them all. They may be the most tattered and dirty but that does not mean they were not loved and cared for. It means they took a journey with me, were an integral part of my daily life and helped to shape who I am today.
What do your favorite and most cherished books look like? Have they journeyed through much with you or are they kept in safe keeping in pristine condition? Comment below.