When I was in high school, I took immaculate care of my books. They were pristine, perfect, display-ready models of all I wanted to achieve in life (my dream has always been to have a book published, preferably successfully). Now, with a few years under my belt, I have had to revise my philosophy on books. I don’t consider it a failing, but rather a growth.
Bent covers happen. Folded pages happen. Smudges and spilled coffee and leftover sticker glue happen. These details are what really define a book. A beloved novel is so much more than just the story it contains, written in neat black ink. It is its own tale of bus trips, boring classes, rushed mornings. If a book is really good, I remember where I was and what I was doing with my life when I was reading it. Often these details, these emotions, are more present in my mind than character names or plot details. I remember the book by its effect on me. And likewise, the physical effect I have on a book marks it as mine, a part of me, a page in my own story.
Anyone can print words on paper. Good books endure, and they earn every tea stain, every rip, every dented page. Much like the fabled Velveteen Rabbit, books take on a life of their own, which only we, the reader, can bestow.
Without further ado, a list of my favorite, and most abused, books:
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
(The Lord of the Rings should be on here, but technically the wonderfully abused version belongs to my parents; my copies are shiny and new)