For the vast majority of my life, I have been teased for my tendency to provide human characteristics to inanimate objects as well as animals, otherwise known as personification. I am sure I have even dipped my toe into the depths of anthropomorphism, which according to dictionary.com is the:
- The attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to nonhuman organisms or inanimate objects.
Where is this leading you ask literary lovelies? Well, there has been some speculation and criticism hitting the Bookstagram community as of late for how photos of books are taken. I say speculation and criticism although it feels more like an attack than anything else. (Even I have had comments on how I broke the spine of one of my novels to showcase my favourite literary letter “for a photo.” BUT little do they know I love that letter so much I broke that spine long before I even took the photo for my Bookstagram.)
From laying yourself flat on a bed of books to a wall of books within a coffee shop in Toronto Canada (Fika Cafe – photo lovingly borrowed from Fika’s website).
I understand we all have ideas of what we should and should not subject our books to, but should we really be criticizing one another over the way we choose to love our literature? My answer is more of a question, ‘how do you think the book would feel?’
If I was personifying/anthropomorphizing a book I would think they would gladly accept your tea stains, your quickening grasp on their spines as the plot develops. Instead of feeling hurt by being placed open upon a wall, as in the aesthetically pleasing Fika Cafe, they might feel like art. They might be even a little snooty about it to those books brought in by their readers.
From their paged perspective, your fingers along their words might be the best part of their lives. Instead of being viewed as a “cracked spine” could it not be the joyful stretch of a binding which until that moment had felt too tight. Why does dog-earring a page have to be negative and not the sheer joy of a book being its own page marker? What if books secretly dislike bookmarks?
I purposely buy those books with torn covers at charity shops, worried someone else might not.
I’m from a family of readers and I always remember my paternal Grandfather reading Western books with torn off covers. My mother recently told me why. The pharmacy where he lived was supposed to rip the covers off of those unsold books (so they couldn’t be resold) and send them off to be recycled. The pharmacist knowing of my Grandpa Jack’s love of reading, would tear off those covers and pass the books along to him. I think those books wouldn’t have minded those torn covers, knowing they were going into the hands of a man who would lovingly read them again and again.
It has been repeated many times to ‘not judge a book by its cover’, so I want to extend this notion:
Let’s not judge an owner by how they want to love their books. Be it a certain cover they think is beautiful or no cover at all. Let’s allow them to crack the spine or tear a page because they are so involved within the plot and are reading so fast their fingers pull too hard. If you want to lay on your books and take an aesthetically appealing photo which I might want to hang on my wall as art, do it! You love your book the way you want to, and I will love mine the way I want to. The book I believe loves the spotlight no matter how it is focused.
I shall leave you here literary lovelies and look forward to any comments I might get. I will cherish your views on how you love your books and I hope you will cherish mine.
Postscript: Do you have a familial reading memory you would like to share with me?