Feb 03, 2012

by English Muse

Penguins, Dorset

What’s the most tattered book you own?

For me, it’s “A Moveable Feast.” I take my paperback copy with me every time I go to Paris. It’s become a sort of tradition to read it on the long plane ride. The spine is broken from underlining sentences on that horrible little pull-down tray. The pages are yellow and some are stained with red wine. (I hate to fly, so wine helps.) The cover has a huge crease from getting smashed under a pillow. Recently I found a pretty fabric cover that fits the book perfectly. It actually looks presentable now.

But this week, it occurred to me: Why not just get a copy of the book on Kindle, since I’m bringing my Kindle anyway on my trip this month.

Then again I would miss not being able to reread everything I underlined last time…I don’t know. I think it’s me and this 1970s edition of A Moveable Feast for life.

You know what I mean?

(Photo by Flat World Sedge.)


This entry was posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 at 12:10 am. It is filed under Books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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28 Responses to “Dog-Eared Books”

  1. Liss says:

    Oh I the same thing with The Great Gatsby. I was going to pack it to read again on my holidas but in the end I decided to buy it for the kindle. I felt like I was cheating on it. But the kindle is just so convenient for travel

  2. Tonia says:

    My copy of the Shipping News is in a dreadful state but I almost prefer it that way: every crease, falling out page and mark is silent witness to how much I love the book.

  3. Tina says:

    hah!! i love that — cheating on your book! I think I might get the book on Kindle and bring them both — just in case…that way I don’t have to go cold turkey!

    A side note: I was in the books section of one of my favorite thrift stores the other day. I overheard a woman say: “I have 500 books in my purse, on my kindle.”

  4. Karen says:

    I totally hear you. I have this copy of The Winter Tale which looks SO beaten up because I take it with me everywhere. It isn’t even that old. I did spill a whole glass of water on it once and then had to put tissue paper between all the pages to make sure they wouldn’t stick together. Wouldn’t put it away for the world though: my project directors from my course at Guildhall wrote something in it and well…

  5. A paperback copy of The Joy of Cooking my father gave me when I got married to a stranger I’d known for all of 5 weeks, when I was 20. My parents were dead-set against this marriage (for, it turns out, good reason!) but my father, in the spirit of optimism that *maybe* it would work out, and his baby daughter should perhaps be able to cook for her new husband, gave me The Joy of Cooking and a crockpot. The “marriage” lasted all of 6 weeks – the book I still have after 30 years – all packing-taped-up to just barely hold it together, favorite recipes highlighted throughout. I’ve bought newer versions over the years thinking I would preserve “Daddy’s” (who passed away just two years later) copy on a shelf, protected from further wear and damage, but…when it comes time to look up “french crepes” once again, I always reach for the wedding gift as it brings back such fond memories of my father and his well-meaning ways.

  6. Chedva says:

    Mine is Little Women and also a copy of Desiree I found in a second hand book shop on my birthday a few years ago after looking for it for ages… after reading it in the library at age 14.

  7. teaposts says:

    My ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ looking pretty beat up, but I love it because I think it looks ‘loved’. 🙂

    I have started to buy my beloved books on kindle too and have put the two side by side so I can highlight in the kindle what i’ve highlighted/underlined in the actual physical copy. It’s tedious work but when you’re done, it feels wonderful! And now all my preferences are on the go with me whenever I leave the house.

    ps. I have 700 books on my kindle so far. It could be more but I haven’t counted any of the recent ones I’ve bought. Heh.

  8. teaposts says:

    oops! correction on my previous comment. The first part of my sentence should look like: My ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ islooking pretty beat up.

  9. Sandra says:

    My most abused novel is a copy of Little Women I’ve had since I was 10. The pages are creased from folding whenever I’d lose a bookmark and there’s water damage on some pages from reading it in the bath. It’s so bad I actually just had to buy a new copy, but the old one’s a gift from my Dad so I’ll never let it go. My copies of To Kill a Mockingbird and The Diary of Anne Frank have also sadly seen better days.

  10. Brittany says:

    My copy of the Count of Monte Cristo is being held together with duct tape on the spine. I had to pack everything up and leave it with my grandparents when I moved. And yes I do have it on my kindle, but oddly I haven’t read it since I moved. But when I finally get a place of my own, it will be like Christmas to put all my books in a book case.

  11. I just can’t get into reading books on my ipad. I love books, old, new, beat up, perfect…I don’t care its the only way I can actually read anything.

  12. My Little Women and A Little Princess have been with me since I was about nine or ten years old, theyre dog-eared to death, stains from god knows what, the spine is falling apart, but I take them with me every where not only because they’re two timeless stories, but it’s a way of keeping my grandmother with me at all times. Growing up my sister and I had a very close relationship with my grandmother (on my mother’s side) and she passed while I was in colllege. So not only do I read this books at least once a year, it’s a way of keeping grandmere close to me!

  13. Oh goodness you talked about A Moveable Feast, talk about hitting on an absolute favorite on mine… For the longest time after reading that book I didn’t want to read any more Hemingway because I felt so perfectly satisfied by that book… I didn’t want my little bubble of happiness to be burst. Have you read The Paris Wife?

  14. This is exactly why I don’t get a kindle! I love holding a book and the memory and the smell of the journey I go on. I love the water stains from the bath tubs, the page creases the notes in the column and the book plate that might be in the front, or maybe a gift note from a friend. That’s the best!

  15. I have a very tattered paperback version of The Great Gatsby that I found packed away at my grandmother’s house years ago. It was falling apart to begin with, then got worse when I marked it up with notes as I was writing my college thesis on Fitzgerald. I’m not sure if it would survive another reading, but I still hang onto it!

  16. Abigail says:

    There is something about a scruffy old book that a shiny new kindle can’t touch! At the moment, I’m reading a dog-eared 1970s penguin edition of ‘This Side of Paradise’- F. Scott Fiztgerald. But I’m going to keep my eyes open for a copy of ‘A Moveable Feast’ being as it comes so highly recommended. xo

  17. Lindsey says:

    My most beat up copy is my set of Little House on the Prairie books. They were my mom’s when she was a kid and then they became mine. I’ve read each one at least three times, and I can’t wait to pass them on to my daughter. While the covers are barely hanging on to some of them, I can’t get rid of them.

  18. I can’t remember which of my books is the tattiest – they’re all in storage! I miss them! 🙁

  19. sécia says:

    My most tattered book is The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. I’ve read it too many times to count and there are notes all over it. Every time I read it there’s something I missed before because it traces the lines of a family for so many generations. The movie is fantastic as well.

    ♥ sécia

  20. ta says:

    Hmm…i think my current might be an old book i used to read when i was a kid called The Hero and the Crown. But i also frequently read The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

  21. Diana says:

    I had a cheap paperback copy of Pride and Prejudice that I stole from my dad . His college notes littered the copyright pages. I carried it around with me for well over a year. One never knew when one might have a few spare minutes to read bit about Darcy and Elizabeth. It literally felt apart, even after surgical taping. Sadly, it passed on, but I will always remember it.

  22. Tina says:

    what a lovely story!

  23. Katie says:

    Oddly enough, all my favorite books have been given away, to friends and family mostly, so they can fall in love with the same stories. Once I give them away, though, I go buy another copy at a secondhand shop. I don’t give away treasured books from my childhood, though–my Little House on the Prairie series was tattered when my mom bought it secondhand and is half fallen apart now, but I’ll keep it forever. The same goes for Little Women and my first copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I hope my someday-children will read them.

  24. Misss_Marta says:

    For me it’s “The Little Prince.” It has my squiggles from when I was little. I don’t return to it as often as I would like to, but I carry the story in my heart always and every new boyfriend has to learn it. That ambiguity has defined my entire life. Recently I stumbled upon “The Return of the Young Prince” by A.G. Roemmers and cried big, happy tears–a worthy sequel indeed. Smiles!

  25. Alaina says:

    It is a toss-up between “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and “Running With Scissors”. I have no fear of dog-earring pages and on top of that, whenever I let someone borrow my books I encourage them to highlight in a color that hasn’t been used yet and dog-ear to their desire. Although it may not make a first-edition a “collectable”, to me it is absolutely perfect. I’ve learned so much about my friends from what passages they’ve found important or relatable and it has made all of my books seem so much more intimate.

  26. Suse says:

    My father’s copy of Sinclair Lewis’ Main Street. Dated, but still a good read.

  27. missy says:

    Oh I like this topic. My most-loved book is Anna Karenina. It belonged to my grandpop and then my mother. It is by far my favorite book. When I first read it there was a note from my father to my mother, so I keep that inside too. I would rather my whole computer with all of the books on it be stolen before that book. haha that’s love.

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