Read my Mind

Now you all know that I enjoy a special kind of torture, euphemistically called book clubs. I also love books of all kinds, including manga and young adult books.  I love books.  All books.

I’m seeing a trend now from my fellow “book lovers.” Apparently, there are rules, or at the least, guidelines. Who knew? For one, audiobooks aren’t considered books. Another that came up recently shocked me… and that’s really hard to do: Agatha Christie and her fellow funny, cozy mystery writers are scorned, much like sitcoms in television and McDonald’s to food critics.  In fact, these cozy, rainy night comfort-food mysteries aren’t just scorned, they aren’t counted as books at all.  They are sort of like a cheeseburger to a salad; empty calories for when you’re too lazy to read a real book. The fast food of literature, if you will.

Oh, there’s more.

Books are to be pristine, according to this new breed of book lover.  We’re not supposed to dog ear books (“oh my god, what are you, a monster?” they exclaim).

recently posted in one of my book clubs … to a resounding consensus

If a book they’ve ordered from Amazon has a slightly bent or nicked edge, they return it for a perfect specimen and complain about the seller. Now, you might say, sure, sure, I just bought a new book, I want it to be perfection itself. Yeah, well, they do the same thing for the used books they purchase. I wonder if these people went to college?  If they did, did they make notes on margins in their textbooks? Highlight sections?  Did they purchase *gasp* used books with both of those things (and worse)?  I’m amazed they survived.

If you read a lot, you quickly learn that used book sellers are your friend. The new breed of book lovers will lower themselves to buy used books, but they have extremely high expectations.  Much higher than my own requirements, which are simple: must have all pages and some semblance of a binding.

The new book lovers consider reading as a serious competition. One woman said she had just finished her 60th book for the year, and it was February. You think I’m joking. I’m not. I believe in setting goals, but good grief. Did you even read a word of any of them? If I asked you to write a sixth-grade book report on one, could you? I doubt it. This isn’t just a fast reader, this is an accomplished skimmer. She definitely counts Cliff Notes as books.

This same woman belongs to the group of book lovers who buy a book and, halfway through, realize they had read it before.  My fellow book club members make comments admitting to this foible frequently. So frequently, it’s almost funny.  How on earth do you not know you’ve read a book by the end of page five? Reading is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby, an escape from life sometimes, not a marathon of forgotten tomes. Visits to the library must be very interesting with this woman.  She probably roams the aisles loudly exclaiming, “Read it.  Read it. Oh, wait! Nope. Read it.”  I know I read a book just from looking at its cover or reading the insert. Maybe this is because I actually read the words of each book I choose.  I dog-ear like a psycho, and the covers are bent enough to cause this new breed of new book lovers to have strokes.

I agree that library books and borrowed books should be handled with care, just as you would when you borrow anything from someone. If it’s not yours, you handle it carefully.

However, my own books?  They’re well-worn. They’re read. They’re loved. And I remember every single one.

There is a place in my heart for all bookies, lovers of the written word, collectors of all kinds. I’m just too old-school to participate in competitions.

Which, by the way, I would win, hands down, lady.

6 thoughts on “Read my Mind

  1. My favorite place is a store called Coas in Las Cruces New Mexico. It has two brick and mortar buildings and they are a used book store. I have always received great copies of any of the books I’ve purchased from them. They do however write the price of the book on the first page in pencil though. Some of those stuck ups you’re talking about may go ballistic on that little detail.

    Like you I am not picky. Unlike you I try NOT to dog-ear my pages. I’ve drowned them in coffee, the dog has walked across one leaving a wonderful paw print, but on my honor I will NOT dog-ear a page!!! Just ignore everything else I have done. LOL
    I cannot imagine being so stuck up that you’d return a used book because there is a dent on the corner. If you spent a lot of money and it’s a rare addition…maybe? But probably not.

    I remember all the books I’ve read. Not word for word or any of that really cool genius type of thing. But I can tell quite quickly if I have read it or not. And for the rare occasion I don’t remember and end up reading it again, either it was a really bad book or something else was happening in my life when I read it the first time.

    I read because I love to. I have a tablet and thousands of ebooks. I also adore picking up a page and bindings book to feel the pages and smell the smells every so often. I have never read for competition or brag rights. I have never had any problems getting through many books if I like the subject and am really into them! Just look at my Goodreads page! Well, maybe not, I just started that a few weeks ago…..

  2. I am what you call an avid reader, have been one since I was old enough to decipher the words in comic books. At one stage in my youth I used to ‘devour’ books according to everyone who knew me, but I don’t think I ever managed 60 books in 2 months. I still read and I still enjoy disappearing into this other world and losing contact with the real world for a while. How could you forget these adventures? Some people just can’t do anything without turning it into a competition – sad, really.

  3. For those of us that do not ‘dog ear’ our pages, I commend us! Lol neither do we write in the margins of fictional material, but I’ll admit if it is a self help style or something of broadening a horizon, I wrote in margins, underline and re-write. There are those in my family that do similar and then there is one who is a collector. Woe to you if you touch his books. Then again, it is a library almost that he owns! I don’t read as much as some, I’ve got my hands on many places, but I do have a book club trying to take off, with my sister. Head over to my blog to see what we’ve read and our take on those books. I’d welcome any other participants. I tend to follow Reese Witherspoon’s selections at times and those are excellent reads. I’ve recently ordered from Amazon, the GIANT big box ‘store,’ The Cremation of Sam McGee by Del Jones. I’ll be reading it next. I’ve also got in my line-up Postmark Bayou Chene by Gwen Roland and The Beauty Beneath by Daniel W. Kelly.

  4. Amen!

    I do wonder if you re-read favorite books. I can understand your point about picking up a book and then realizing that you’ve already read it and stopping if re-reading wasn’t your intent. But there are a handful of books that I have read and re-read several times, some probably a dozen times.

    Do you have favorites that are like comfort food, characters and scenes that you can go back to again and again?

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