When I first started blogging about books, watching Booktube videos, and reading other book blogs, I was somewhat shocked to read about all of the people who take pristine care of their books. Some don't write in their books or underline their favorite quotes. Others fear loaning their books to friends due to worry about the condition their beloved novels will come back to them in. Some readers have mentioned how they don't even crack the spine of their novels, which to me is one of the most satisfying sounds and could almost be as therapeutic as cracking your own spine. When I get a new book, hearing and feeling that soft crack is beautiful. I was shocked to read about this phenomena of keeping books intact mostly because I don't protect my books, like, at all.
When I loan my books to friends, I tell them to feel free to underline their favorite parts. If it comes back a little more battered than it was when I handed it off to them, I love knowing that they carried it around with them and it got a little injured in the process. When I get books from the library or a used bookstore, I love reading underlined passages and notes because it creates two stories: the one in the pages, and the mystery of how another person was interpreting the book compared to how I did.
To sound a little cliche for a quick minute: reading books transports all of us into so many different worlds. It gives us new lives to try on and then put back onto the shelf. I feel like my books deserve to be given a life just like they give me one. Now every time I see my pink stained copy of The Shining Girls, not only will I think of the gruesome thriller, but I will think of fulfilling a dream of seeing The Cure and curse Lollapalooza for serving the worse selection of beers ever. I will forever love battering my books and seeing the 'scars' they acquire on their journey with me, much like I've received my scars along the way, too.
Books too full of so much life and story to sit on a shelf with uncracked spines and with no story outside of their pages to show for. So please, don't be scared to abuse your books. Don't be disappointed if a page becomes dogeared or you cannot resist underlining a quote you are certain you could have tattooed on your body. If that makes you love your book less, then feel free to give them to me.