15 June 2011

The way I treat books

My best friend Beth and I share a hobby and that is reading. We love to read. We always exchange what kind of book we recently read and how it was - you know if it is worse reading it or not. It's almost like a very small book club.

But our ways of handling the books are very different, so we decided to each write about it and link it to the other one's post. So if you are interested in reading her story, here is the link, but I would like that you finish this one first and then go over to C.Beth (- she is the better writer, so you'll keep her writing style in mind longer than mine).

So yes, I love to read.
I read books in German, English and French, but understandably, I prefer to read in my native tongue. And if you ask if I even have the time to read - oh yes, I do! I make time. It is very important to me. It satisfies me to put my nose in a book and disappear into a different world for a little while. A while ago, I also decided that it is okay to read around the kids, because it is a good habit that I want them to copy one day. Read, read, read. Keep reading.

With new technologies coming out all the time, we also discussed electronic books and if we ever would buy one. Well, I don't.  I just couldn't, but she did and you can read about it here. Me, I prefer the actual book, with it's advantages and disadvantages. I am not so sure about the disadvantages of books, but I am sure some people will find them. Personally, I can only see advantages.

I love the feel of a book in my hands, I love to smell books, old or new, it doesn't matter. And I like to see the actual volume on my bookshelf. I want to see that bookshelf grow - even though the hubby is not that happy about it. And I have my parents and my aunt helping me with that - they are constantly sending German books to me - and the kids.

Books fascinate me - I think I inherited that from my family. My maternal grandfather collected books, he had shelves over shelves stocked with books, books of all different colors and shapes and languages. He had alot of books, some new, some were pretty old; he especially liked those about musicians. Both my parents love books as well, but I think my mother does more reading than my father. They have one whole room that is almost like a library in their house. They bought alot of books themselves over the years, but I know my mom also got a few books from her father, my grandfather.
My dream is my very own library in my house; one day... a room full of books. Where I can hide on rainy days and just sit, sip tea and read, read, read.... oh that sounds like heaven to me!

I was taught to bestow a certain respect for books - I believe more for the reason of the value of the book rather than seeing it as a possession. Books cost money, yes, but books also have value, the older the better. I think it is very German to take care of things, to treat all our possessions like treasures! I mean treat them nicely and don't scratch it. (That goes for the German with their cars and with most other of their belongings.) At least that's how I grew up. Getting older, I threw some of those 'values' out the window, but I guess some just really stuck with me. Today, I have my own reasons why I like to regard my books with the utmost care. I don't like to write in them, on them; I don't like when people eat or drink around my books; I don't like folded corners - use a bookmark! I don't lend my books to other people! Not even my best friend....

I am trying to teach my kids to do the same with their books. It makes me so angry when they don't treat the books nicely. I understand that they are kids and one or two books won't make it over the years. Coqui seems to have inherited the love for books and the understanding to treat them with care. Unfortunately, it seems (so far) that Peanut could care less and rips pages, folds corners and - so far - is not allowed to handle paper books. If she keeps going like this, she will never hold a paper book in her hand until she leaves my house!!! (just kidding!)

There is also the small reason that trees had to be cut down for those precious books, and I don't want to waste a tree in dishonoring the final product, the book. Maybe it is because in the GDR, we didn't have things in overflow, some things were just hard to get. When I read stories about the middle ages and how people were not able to read and the possession of a book was such a privilege, I feel blessed that I can read, in multiple languages, and that I own a 'few' books. I can't imagine life without books.

Books, not magazines, not newspapers, but books. Books with stories so fantastic that it takes your breath away. Books can be so much; it can be a time window into history in order to better understand it or just simply learn about it; it can be a refuge into a better world or simply a different world that we will never encounter in our own life; it can be a teaching tool for our children and for us as adults; it can be hope for a future. I can still remember some books from my childhood. Books that I want to pass along to my children.

So there you go, I am nuts about books, and how I honor them! Thanks for reading. And don't forget to check out what Beth is thinking about books.....


C. Beth said...

One of the ways that you positively influence me is the way that you treat your things. I have been thinking recently about how my kids treat their toys and really trying to teach them to be more careful. And I think you're the biggest influence on that. So while I probably won't ever show the care for books that you do, I really do admire the principle behind it, and I think it is an admirable quality. I enjoyed reading about why you are so careful! Thanks for doing this joint blog post with me!

Call Me Cate said...

Visiting from Beth's post. I think I'm between the two of you in how I regard my books. I'm gentler with them than Beth, but not as reverent about them as you. I've started buying most of my books on my Kindle, only buying the hard copies if it's a book I really loved.

It was interesting to read how both of you treat your books. Fun idea for posts!

Faisal said...

Love reading both entries. I've read Beth's and then yours n now i'm commenting here first. I think I'm more like Beth, tho I also have a growing book collection and I also dream of owning a roomfull of books one day. I dont mind ebooks but I enjoy the hard copies better :)