Beloved, battered books

Book - Robert the Bruce: The Steps to the Empty Throne

Used, but beloved

I just saw this article on the Guardian’s site: The charm of battered books, and it made me smile. Not that I don’t take care of my books, being sure not to break their spines or fold over their pages. But there’s just something about the way a well-loved book eventually starts to look, that demonstrates just how loved it is. The author of the article, David Barnett sums things up this way:

Books shouldn’t be wilfully mistreated, but we shouldn’t handle them with kid gloves. If they pick up imperfections and blemishes, then so what? A less than pristine book is a book with character…our books come to share with us the scars and scratches of life.

I like that description: “a book with character.” And I realize that some of the books I’ve had almost since I was a kid can be described exactly that way. Not wrecked, but just rough enough around the edges to show that they’re been treasured possessions for a long, long time.

What about you? Do you have some well-loved books that have been with you so long that they, too, are showing a few of the effects of long age?

A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis

This is one I've read a LOT over the years


    One comment

    1. Stephanie says:

      I have a paperback version of Shakespeare held together with a rubber band but that wasn’t my fault. My sister and I bought it (actually, she refused to go halves) then she commandeered it and gave it back to me a decade later after she had it in hardback.

      My favorite books, those that take a beating (I wore through two copies of Shogun) I buy multiple copies of. Though I enjoy having them as ebooks, too.

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