Thursday, 15 November 2007

Booking through Thursday - Preservatives

btt button
Today’s question comes from Conspiracy-Girl: I’m still relatively new to this meme so I’m not sure if this has been asked yet, but I’m curious how many of us write notes in our books. Are you a Footprint Leaver or a Preservationist?

Oh good heavens, stand back while I rant! I am constantly beset by people who write in library books. Look, clever-clogs, I don't care if you know that the author has said "infer" when they mean "imply" or that members of X regiment didn't wear that particular cap button in WWII - keep it to yourself! And while we're on the subject, don't make little notes inside the back cover so that you'll know you've read this book. Get a notebook! As for ringing page numbers, or turning down corners - what are bookmarks for? If you don't have one of those gold-embossed leather things, an envelope will do, or a postcard (not a bank statement, please). And don't crack the spine on that paperback! oh look, pages 294-97 have fallen out.

Now, I have to admit that as a child I used to colour in th
e illustrations in my favourite books. My aunt used to do the same thing, and her books were works of art, but mine were always a mess because I ran out of patience before I finished. I still have my messy copy of The Little White Horse, and wouldn't part with it. And I did eventually find that I had to make notes in text books, because I simply couldn't keep track if all my notes were in a separate place. But they are my textbooks and, if I ever decided to part with them, which is extremely unlikely, I will go through with a rubber and clean them up. I once bought a secondhand textbook online and, when it arrived, it had been annotated throughout - admittedly in pencil, but I wouldn't have bought that copy if I'd known. They weren't even good notes. I had to erase all of them before I could read it comfortably.

You'll have gathered from all this that I am a preservationist of the most avid variety. When one of my grandfathers retired he took up bookbinding, restoring Victorian floras and music scores to objects of beauty once more. At which point I may have to concede that 19th-century textual annotation may be interesting.

By the way, let me assure you that I'm generally a quiet and assuming sort of person - should I happen to pass you, in the library, dog-earing a page or writing your shopping list in the margin of page 42, I may only say, "Please don't do that," in the mildest of tones. Alternatively, I may just tiptoe away, pretending I haven't noticed.

Handel's Messiah, bound by my grandfather.

9 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

I really detest those who write in library books and even tear off pages.

A few are known to pilfer books from a library. How gross can you get?

Marianne Arkins said...

I absolutely agree with those blasted notes in library books -- makes me absolutely nutty!!

I have been known to write in my non-fiction or textbooks... notes to help me remember pertinent information. But fiction?? NO. Never.

Happy BTT!

Jaimie said...

I do not write in books but I still have a bad habit of dog-earring pages to reference back when I don't have a sticky note handy. It is very disrespectful to write in a library book in my opinion.

Literary Feline said...

I have no problem with someone who wants to do with a book he or she owns what he or she will, but if it's a borrowed book, at least have the common courtesy not to mess with it! I don't work in a library, but I understand your frustration.

When I was in college I bought nearly all my books used--it was the only way I could afford them. They were almost always marked up and I'd try and select the one that was the least marked up. I did mark up my texts, I admit. I figured what could it hurt since others had paved the way before me. Probably not the best thinking, but I was very young then. :-S

Lesley (El Zed) said...

Abusing a library book is the living end. I had a teacher in the middle of the last century who told us to treat any borrowed books with the greatest of respect, including library books. She told us about a fellow teacher at our school, who had a copy of Goethe returned to her with a poached egg plastered between its pages. And she took off her glasses and scowled at us as if one of us had stooped so low as to have committed this crime. It's a lesson that has stuck - though I still wonder how you could drop a poached egg in a book and not know about it. Perhaps it was symbolic!

elizabethm said...

I'm a ferocious preservationist too. Even the smallest scribbled comment in the margin is an intrusion. Get out of my book. I also hate the turning over of pages - not necessary. Even the least organised house has an old envelope. Sorry, you've got me started now. Feel a rant comming on.

GeraniumCat said...

Elizabeth, you sound just like I felt that minute I read the question!

Hannah Velten said...

Well, I have to admit to colouring in illustrations when I was young (in my own books) and I've folded over the corners of pages (in my 'yoof' and in my own books) and I've scribbled in biro and underlined GCSE and 'A''Level English Lit books (my own)...However, I'm now a saint and slip pieces of paper into books to mark pages. The worst book crime is cutting out, or tearing out, illustrations. It beggars belief that anyone would do such a thing, but sadly I've come across it many times....

BooksPlease said...

I cannot bear the thought of turning down the corner of a page to mark where you're up to in a book and as for tearing pages out - well that's just unbelievable. I can't believe I underlined passages in books - but I have the evidence that is just what I have done in the past - I wouldn't dream of doing it now!