y wife and I have a little ritual. Every Sunday at about 11:30am we walk a quarter mile (through quiet neighborhoods) to the little reborn strip mall. There, amid eclectic CD shops, yoga dens and cutesy boutiques, we slip into the seats at Juniors, an old throwback place with booths and even counter stools. And there, over omelets (with tabasco sauce) we’ll read our books.
Yeah, it’s just our shared quiet time. We’ll talk about things on the walk over, and talk (generally) about our books on the way home. It’s just our freaky couples thing.
But it struck me on the walk home today (with the new books I’d bough at the CD shop) how I carry a book.
First, I’ll carry it spine down (carefully!) in the curl of my fingers. This way, my finger-sweat won’t stain the pages (it can get to 100+ degrees in the places where there aren’t trees (plant more trees, people!)). But with the open side up, my bookmark stays in place, the pages don’t get damp or bent, and everything is fine. But on older hardcovers, one most carry the book gently, new-baby gently, so as not to break its spine (perhaps not the best metaphor, in retrospect).
But what if it’s drizzling? If it rains, we’ll wait. If it drizzles, we’ll walk home. But if it picks up (and we hide under one of those too-scarce trees) or it’s just spitting then I reverse the book in my hand, spine-up, pages-down. This way I won’t get water into the pages. Very important.
And bookmarks. A lot of people give me bookmarks and I try to preserve them as long as possible (since I always have books and bookmarks, the latter wear out pretty frequently). In this, care must be taken not to knock the end of the book into tables, bending the bookmark. Tossing the book into the back of the car? No. Setting it on end? No. All these damage bookmarks. Be very careful with them. Damaged bookmarks might make you look scholarly but it is disrespectful to your noble placeholders.
With such care given to your books (including the lowly paperback), they should last you a lifetime.
NEXT WEEK: How to deal with a houseful of books.