A Crease On The Spine


Gifting books ‘comes with a price, perhaps several prices’.

Slightly Bemused writes:

For a number of years a friend and I have had a little bit of a book challenge. He might not call it that – basically he is winning by leagues. I think over the years I managed one or two wins, his are in the thousands.

In this time of lockdown there are a number of things you can do. I know many go to Netflix or similar and watch filums and series (I must admit I finally am getting the time for Breaking Bad). But honestly, my greatest joy has been rekindling my joy for reading. When I can find my old person glasses.

My friend gifts me with worlds I can get lost in. I have a reading chair so that I can get lost, but still have a glass of water next to me. I tried getting lost in other worlds with something more potent. Water works best, or occasionally tea. We can have the argument over Lyons versus Barry’s later. I have a cousin who works for one of them who explained some things about the difference.

But the gifting comes with a price. Or maybe several prices, I have never really been sure.

Firstly, and foremost, you have got to give the book back before you get the next.

A few more years ago than I think I care to remember I gave a book of mine that I owned (not my friend’s, I am not that crazy) to a colleague who had a passion for the genre, but no access to the books. My friend and I had an interesting series of discussions about this for several years. I bought the book again. It is one of my perennial favourites.

And before you get worried, he was not against gifting the book, quite the opposite. It was the book I gifted. I think I was forgiven when I bought it again.

The problem at the moment is the book I have currently been gifted is a paperback. There is no crease on the spine. A certain part of me worries that if I put a crease in the back, will I get the next one?

A while ago a college ‘mate’ took a book I was reading before class, and threw it across the room. needless to say, damage was done and a bit more than a crease on the spine.

Occasionally I am still asked for that guy’s name. This might worry people. Don’t.

What I really want to say is that the treasure of a book, of a world you can get lost in, is probably more important now. Having that world damaged does not help when trying to manage this world.

If you have a world you want to get lost in, find your reading chair. And get lost in it.
By the way, this is going to get me an angry text. Or at least a text with a ‘we are going to talk about this’.

Pic: All Stock

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6 thoughts on “A Crease On The Spine

  1. Marbe

    Please ask your friend to send you, or you send your friend The Overstory by Richard Powers. I don’t mind who sends it to whom as long as I can think someone out there in reading land is enjoying it.

  2. Lilly

    If a book can transport you to another (hotter) country, even better. I spent several enjoyable hours in Naples, courtesy of Elena Ferrantes’ Neapolitan novels. Total escapism, especially the first one.

    PS, I’m not a fan of the word ‘gifting’. What’s wrong with giving?

  3. Verbatim

    Maybe I’m not reading enough at the moment, but trying to follow what you write…between the colleague and the friend. If you “gifted” the book why did you think you’d get it back. Who asks you for the guy’s name who threw the book across the room? Oh dear, I’m so lost, oh just read and leave it on the train when finished.

  4. kerryview

    There is only one rule to follow if you love and treasure your books. Do not lend to anyone. I make sure that people know in advance of this rule.
    I don’t give toss what moniker you may invent to describe me.
    I know I’m not alone.

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