The adoration for books is worldwide recognised. However, every reader has his own way of treating his adventure’s partner. Long are the discussions about writing or underlining books as well as breaking spines and folding pages. Here is my way and why I do it.
Obviously I am against most of these actions, except underlining and very once in a while writing small notes. (Don’t open my Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, though)
Some devoted readers call me criminal for underlining my favourite passages or the ones I believe will help me writing the essays. But even within that action I have limits. The lines must have to be done with the help of a ruler, while the spacing between the sentences have to be exactly the same. And always, but always with a pencil. I remember buying more than three hundred post-its before starting my course, believing I would never be able of marking my perfect paperbacks. So when did I start it?
The main responsible is Amazon. I had to order a technical book for my Poetry Class, as a new one would be quite expensive a second-hand it was. The disappointment of opening a very pen-written book with someone else’s post-its is too much to explore in one post.
Then I started reading his notes in a clumsy handwriting, slowly understanding better what the technical parts meant. And this person, without knowing, not only became responsible for my essay title choice but also for my internal change. From those horrifying doodles with fluorescent markers, I realised how that book would always belong to the person that scribed it. How what was written was more than the message and knowledge of the book itself. One more time I’ll have to recall Roland Barthes and his Death of the Author. If someone borrows my books, which has been rarer and rarer since I’m too attached to them, all the scriptures and lines will reveal what I felt about it.
Confessions that most times I would not write or comment. Completely free of judgement.
Maybe the fact that my paperbacks from two and more years ago are all clean match what I had in mind by then. Today all my books are filled of me, even if it is a selfish act.
Nevertheless, as most readers will condemn me for doing so I will probably do the same to every page-folder and careless reader out there. We tend to censure who hurts what is ours and every book is ours in a sense, even if we’re not their authors. And that is why I scar them the same way the scar me.