I move in very literary circles (ie I’m a member of a lot of book clubs) and have noticed that there are generally two types of people when it comes to reading.
- Those who are very protective of books
- Those who treat books like old, comfortable friends
I fall into the latter category. Here’s a short quiz to determine where you sit on this highly devisive and important issue:
Q1: Someone hands you a book that’s dog-eared and worn. Do you:
a) caress the faded cover lovingly before putting your nose to the pages and inhaling that old book smell.
b) shriek with horror, scream: “WHAT DID YOU DO?” and remove that person from your life.
Q2: A friend from your book club asks if you can share your copy of this month’s book. Do you:
a) smile and reply: “Of course, and feel free to leave me little notes in the margins.”
b) agree, but only if she washes her hands before touching the pages, keeps drinks and food at least 3 feet from the book at all times and signs a contract stating that if she bends the spine, you have the right to her firstborn child.
Q3: You pick up a copy of Mrs Dalloway from your local secondhand book shop. At page 11, you see some writing in the margin. Do you:
a) read the notes, ponder over the previous reader and add your own witty commentary.
b) collapse in a faint, only to be revived by hard liquor.
Q4: The dog chews a corner of Pride and Prejudice. Do you:
a) congratulate him on his fine choice, and encourage him to explore the rest of Austen’s back catalogue.
b) call up the local shelter and see if they’ve got room.
If you answered mostly a’s…
You love books, in the way that people love ragged, soft and comfortable sofas. Those pages are like family to you, they’re fine with being manhandled, they can cope.
You know that no matter what happens to a novel’s pages, the words still retain their purity.
Want to join my book club?
If you answered mostly b’s…
Your bookcase is an immaculate, gleaming collection of unsullied works. Literature is everything, and you are proud to give it the respect it deserves. You have nightmares about greasy fingerprints, smudges of dirt and coffee rings ruining those hallowed pages.
I would never borrow a book from you.