Cuidar los libros

¿Puede uno ser lector devoto sin preocuparse demasiado por los libros como objetos, su limpieza y cuidado? En Confessions of a book slob Ian Crouch nos habla de ello:

Lifehacker recently pointed to a post at Apartment Therapy from last year that offers five tips on caring for books, an earnest list of advice that runs from the patently sensible (“Don’t store books too close to a heater, in direct sunlight or in damp places where they could become mildewed”) to the fastidious (“To condition the spine…”). If you own valuable books, or simply prize your collection of paperbacks, the list is worth a look. I write if, because I realize that sometime in the past few years, I’ve gone from someone who cared for his shelves—organizing books by author and theme (if never alphabetically) and standing back from the clean rows with arms crossed in satisfaction—to an inattentive owner, as likely to re-shelve a book where it belongs, or even to find it a shelf, as I am to attend to other optional matters of household hygiene.

A quick rundown of the list reveals all my gross violations:

1. Take care of a book’s spine.

Sound advice. But after a hundred or so pages, a book starts getting unwieldy, especially in those one-handed reading situations (lying walrus-like on my side in bed, strap-hanging on the subway, eating pretzels) and pages start flopping closed. After a while, it takes real thumb strength to continue reading. That’s irritating. So I sometimes give the spine a good, hard crack, turning one unruly volume into two manageable mini-books. (Or in the case of epics, several cracks, and several volumes). Problem solved—in the short run at least. (Cut to my crippled Collected Whitman, and the missing pages from Cheever’s stories.)

About Irad Nieto

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