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#1395 - 09/11/00 06:05 PM Re: Writing in Books
shrew
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Registered: 08/09/00
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Like ElectroCute, I cannot bring myself to dogear pages. There's something about that sad broken corner of a page that makes me cringe. I also can't set a book down open to hold my page - my boyfriend does this, and it makes me nuts.

I will write in my own books if I'm working on an article or a paper, but only in pencil. I do not write notes in library books. I used to use Post-Its until the university library started asking people not to -- apparently some of the adhesive remains and deteriorates the paper. So now I just use slips of paper all over the place. I sometimes write an arrow in pencil to mark a passage I need, but I erase it before I return the book. I will inscribe gift books, and I use bookplates when I loan books.

Someone mentioned finding photos in books: I once found a photo in a used book (three people in a train station in the sixties... but they look caricatures or mannequins... strange.) I couldn't find any indication of who they were, so I couldn't return the photo, but I liked it so much that I framed it and put it up in our house. It's kind of fun -- sometimes someone will look at the photo and ask me: "who is this?" and I'll say, "I have no idea." I get some interesting looks before I explain myself (and sometimes after I explain myself!) But family photos have always fascinated me.

Anyway, I love going to used bookstores, but for classes I often find myself purchasing new books because I find other peoples notes and highlighting too distracting.


[This message has been edited by shrew (edited September 11, 2000).]

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#1396 - 09/12/00 12:46 PM Re: Writing in Books
cat
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Registered: 06/02/00
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Loc: Northern California

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Last night, I looked over and my husband was writing in a library book. An [i]old[/] library book, circa 1880 or so. In pen. He tried to deny it but then sort of copped to it. I was so mad that I actually just left the room and went to sleep on the couch (and cold bitchy silence is not my usual MO with anger, honestly) until he came and apologized. I said that I know it's not actually my business, but that to me it seems like, I don't know, torturing a small animal or something just to see what happens. It's so completely arrogant and self-centered. Grrrr.
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#1397 - 09/12/00 04:09 PM Re: Writing in Books
deborah Administrator
Chief Bibliofreak
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Registered: 05/27/00
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Personally, cat, I think you acted with admirable restraint. That's really beyond the pale.
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#1398 - 09/12/00 05:18 PM Re: Writing in Books
jmorgan
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Registered: 09/12/00
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Loc: Santa Monica CA

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I have no problem with breaking the spine of my own books, or dog-earring the pages (or, as my father calls it, "chapping off"). I also write all over my own books, generally in pen, because I can never find a pencil. But, like most of you, I would never mistreat a library book, and hate discovering that other people have done so.

I am reminded, however, of how much I love to find other people's make-shift bookmarks in library books, or used bookS. Recently, I bought an old hardback edition of Paradise Lost. In the back of the book was an old postcard, stamped, but never sent, from a student at Berkeley (I assume this was her textbook), to a man stationed in the Coast Guard. All it says is:

"Dear Jim,
I am still speachless (sic) with ANGER.
Love, Janet"

I loved that. I wonder if Jim and Janet ever made up....


[This message has been edited by jmorgan (edited September 12, 2000).]

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#1399 - 09/20/00 10:05 AM Re: Writing in Books
mackenzie
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Registered: 09/19/00
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That's cute, jmorgan. I always thought that sort of thing - finding an unsent postcard in a book - sounded so romantic. All I've ever found is a grocery list, and a boring grocery list at that. Milk, toilet paper, bread...not exactly the stuff of romance.

You're all going to hate me, but I promise, I don't do this any more (much). When I was younger, I used to eat books.

Really. Literally.

My copy of A Little Princess is more than well-loved, it's practically gone. I used to gnaw bits off the corners. It's incredibly annoying to me now. I haven't met anyone else who does that, probably for good reason. Still, as nervous habits go, I guess it's better than smoking. At least I always got my recommended daily allowance of fiber.

As you might expect, yes, I break spines, yes, I dog-ear pages. I don't write much in my books now, except when I get really mad. An old copy of Anne of Green Gables has angry comments written in the spine of one page (I don't quite remember what they were about, but I remember feeling very indignant on Anne's behalf). These days, it's usually 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' that gets to feel my wrath.

If I was like this with my books as a kid, imagine what my Barbies looked like. (A bunch of sad, mutilated creatures, is what.)

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#1400 - 09/20/00 01:23 PM Re: Writing in Books
deborah Administrator
Chief Bibliofreak
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/00
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There's a word for that, mackenzie: bibliophagia. (Noun form: bibliophage.) It's a word that I don't think we get to use much, so thanks for the opportunity.

There's also a general term for the craving to eat non-food substances: it's called a pica. Apparently it is typical for this to occur during childhood or pregnancy. And I've read that it's not uncommon for some pregnant women to crave dirt or clay. Some people theorize that picas are one way for the body to get nutrients/vitamins/minerals that it's missing. I'm not sure what nutrient might be in paste, but maybe those kids who are eating it need a workup from a nutritionist.

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#1401 - 09/21/00 07:01 PM Re: Writing in Books
Kalypso21
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Sars: the whole "books are treasures" thing was so funny, except I never got over it \:\) I am totally manic. I don't lend out my books. I don't write my name in books, nor do I write little comments in the margins. I don't break the spines. Ever. I won't even buy a book in a bookstore if the binding is the least bit damaged. I don't even highlight my college textbooks. The worst thing though: I refuse to buy "used" college textbooks that are highlighted/dogeared because it irks me so much. I will just pay full price. Sad, isn't it?
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#1402 - 09/22/00 01:16 PM Re: Writing in Books
piratequeen
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Registered: 09/22/00
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there's a passage in 'the satanic verses' by salman rushdie where the main character (i think it was saleem) scolded his girlfriend for writing in books. 'books are sacred. books are gifts.'

i lend my books out, but only to people i know will take care of them. i lent some books to my sister once who took them camping in alaska. let's just say they were far from pristine when they were returned. i made her buy me new ones, i was so upset.

i never dogear my books, either. if nothing else, i'll just use any piece of paper nearby.

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#1403 - 09/22/00 01:33 PM Re: Writing in Books
Kivrin Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
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Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

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Breaking the spines sounds so violent!
Yikes. I lend out my books also, and my friends know that I am very particular about keeping the book in good shape. I don't need to ask them to replace the copy if they wreck it while they have it in their possssion, they'll buy me a new copy anyway, knowing how badly it upsets me.

Friends have said that I am the only one they know who can read an entire novel and have it look like it is still brand new afterward. This does cut down on the book-lending I do. My friends are somewhat afraid to borrow my books!

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#1404 - 09/23/00 02:31 PM Re: Writing in Books
gwen
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Registered: 08/13/00
Posts: 60
Loc: Houston, Texas, baby

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I never write in books -- not even my own textbooks. If I was forced to write in a book, I'd probably have to throw up right afterwards. I used to spend a lot of time looking for the used textbooks with the least writing in them. But I think author's signatures are okay.

I only dogear my own paperbacks, and like Deborah, I buy multiple copies of certain books that I'm always lending/giving.

I'm really picky about bookmarks. Flimsy ones bug me. I'd rather use the electric bill than a flimsy bookmark. But when I have good ones, I lose them.

I can't even imagine people writing in library books. I guess I've been lucky because I can't remember seeing such a thing.
Cat, I really feel for you. I can imagine how awful it feels to see your spouse willfully doing something that annoys you so much.

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