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On books as precious objects

One of my most prized possessions is my unabridged copy of The Lord of the Rings, which I received from my uncles for my eleventh birthday. It’s a gorgeous edition, complete with a badass illustration of Gandalf striding across the rainy countryside. It’s also a total beast, clocking in at well over 1000 pages and printed on that very fine material that reminds me of a bible.

Cover_lotr_green_gandalf
via lotrwikia.com

And in lots of ways this book was my bible, and one of the defining touchstones of my teenage years. I read LOTR religiously every year for maybe 5 or 6 years, usually around Christmas. It was my escape when I needed one and it fuelled many a teenage daydream (where I would somehow be transported into Middle Earth and invited to join the Fellowship because I was clever and brave and strong. Oh, and Legolas would fall madly in love with me because of COURSE an immortal elf would be into a chubby, ginger 13 year old).

I tell you all this because I want to be really clear that I loved this book with all of my heart. Even the physical object itself was a kind of talisman. And yet, for all I profess to cherish my copy of LOTR, to the casual observer it probably looks more than a little…neglected. The back fifth of the book eventually fell out from constant use and the pages were sloppily sellotaped back on. At some point in time I spilt water on it, wrinkling the pages, and judging from the level of discolouration on the fore-edge, I definitely left this book out in the sun more than once!

I love books. I love the look and smell and feel of them. I love being able to flip through the pages and I can spend ages staring at covers and maps and artwork. However, if you look at my bookshelves you’ll begin to find a common theme. The more I like a book, the more dishevelled it gets.

In my eyes, book are precious objects but not the kind that need to be kept in pristine condition. The tea stains tell me I was so engrossed that I missed my mouth. The cracked spines prove that I kept on reading even when my arms couldn’t hold the book up any longer and I had to bend it backwards to prop it up. The accordioned pages show where I dropped the book on the ground after I fell asleep reading.

So, to all the people who believe I’m a monster for the laissez-faire way I treat my books*, all I can say in response is this—books are meant to be read and yeah, maybe mine have a little bit more character than most, but that doesn’t make them any less loved. And if you’re ever browsing my library and you ever see a book of mine that looks too-well taken care of, then you can probably skip it since I likely wouldn’t recommend it anyway.

*Massive caveat—of course I am extremely careful with any and all books that are loaned to me by friends and family, so please don’t cut me off just because you now believe I’m a monster!!!

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The first blog is the deepest, baby I know…

Hello!

Sorry for the random blog title. And sorry that you now have a Sheryl Crowe/Rod Stewart/Cat Stevens song stuck in your head (pick your era). The reason for the randomness is that I really, really hate first blog posts. There’s a lot of pressure, you know? You need to establish who you are and why someone should read your blog. It’s all very tiring. Plus, I’m pretty sure that blogs are so 2008 and it’s all about Instagram or Snapchat these days. But feck it, I’m nothing if not late to a party—so here it goes! Welcome to my blog, pals!

The “who I am” should be easy, since I already covered that part in my handy-dandy About Me page.

The why… well, that’s harder. I haven’t quite decided what exactly the point of this blog is just yet. Maybe it’s just a place to share my random thoughts on life? Or maybe some form of coherence will naturally arise over time.

I do know that now is probably a good time to start following me if you’re interested in any of the following:

  • Books, books, and more books (I read quite a bit).
  • What happens when a 30-something hits an early midlife crisis and uproots their entire life.
  • Waaaaay too much thought going into random moments of pop culture.
  • Chats about mental health (maybe, if I’m brave enough).
  • Maybe a few bits about writing along the way.

And maybe that’s good enough for now! Let’s see what happens.