I’m moving house at the moment and I’m losing a lot of books. And a lot of people are shocked. “You’re giving away your books? Oh I just couldn’t.”
The same sort of response greets me when I tell people that I scrawl in the margins of books, underline words, draw big circles around salient paragraphs… “You what?”
At a reading once, a woman said to me, “That’s wicked and disgusting. Like vandalising your own home.” And I hadn’t even told her at that point that I’ve been know to tear out pages, so I can carry them round with me and re-read and re-read.
Funny thing is, if you ask the same people to tell you what they read last, or to quote a passage or part of a book that they love, they can’t. Lots of them also talk about how little time they have for reading these days. They’re too busy, they can’t find anything they like, they only read on holiday now…
They respect books and writing, sure. But books don’t want to be revered, or even owned. Books just want to be read.