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A "Re-Reader" Turns the Corner

Updated on August 20, 2020
diogenes profile image

Diogenes (Bob Challen) is a retired journo living in SE England. He is a prolific contributor to Hubpages, as he was to several newspapers.

Books are hanging on, despite the electronic challenge.

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Hurts to look at it, doesn't it?Is this how we should read today?My old flames in new flames!Sanitize, sanitize!Kids mesmerized by a Kindle
Hurts to look at it, doesn't it?
Hurts to look at it, doesn't it?
Is this how we should read today?
Is this how we should read today?
My old flames in new flames!
My old flames in new flames!
Sanitize, sanitize!
Sanitize, sanitize!
Kids mesmerized by a Kindle
Kids mesmerized by a Kindle

Should abuse of books be against the law?

Abuse of books is not against the law!
You know you're approaching the final stretch when certain things in your life you had always held as morally reprehensible start to become acceptable.
One manifestation of this was especially noticed recently when I began turning down the corner of the pages of the books being read, or, rather re-read
I also realized I had ceased to buy mostly used books from Amazon, e-Bay and various charity shops - when they were open. I have rarely bought new books. Mainly because they usually start their circulated lives as hardbacks, which I detest except for my research tomes...too heavy and angular to read in bed, and they are far too expensive for this pensioner's meagre accumulation of riches.
But the really significant change of a life time's behaviour was that I was defacing my beloved books by turning down a corner - even half a page - to keep my place.
My books - about 250 in all - have followed me around the world and back again at huge expense. They were mostly acquired during the fifteen years I was a working journalist and teacher in Mexico; many were used as a resource for my articles; others were my small collection of US Crime and Detective novels, which I have read and re-read many times. These were mainly by Crais, Burke, Connelly and Child, excellent authors all, but especially revered were the jewels by James Lee Burke.
And not once previously in 20 years of writing for a living and reading for sanity did I ever turn down the corner of one of my friends!
I would have sooner kicked the cat or shook the budgie's cage!
I kept my place as one should with anything to hand as a bookmark, as often as not, a piece of loo tissue - well? Isn't that where we all enjoy a good read?
Perhaps one of the subconcious reasons I have begun to treat my small library with such contempt is the fact that there is little market for paper-back books any more, thanks to the Internet and the moronic race it is breeding.
I had always thought that I would sell most on eBay one day or cart 'em down to the boot sales back when, but too much trouble; all the shlepping and fisting grubby pennies.
And my eclectic selection of non-fiction have little interest to modern readers who get all their information from Wikipedia and their funsies on awful Facebook.
(By the way, Hub-pages contributors should cease from plagiarising Wiki to pad-out their articles or even their comments!)
Although, in a moment of weakness, I bought a Kimble Reader last year with the intention of joining the down-load crowd, I disliked it from day one...plus the fact E-Books are just as expensive as the discounted real things! Disgusting greed which will probably kill this market, if it has not already done so.
For me, reading books electronically destroyed the joy of escaping somewhere, hand-in-hand with the author and his protagonists. And the kimble screen was just too small; the nasty little battery-bound bugger had no substance.
At my great age - older than my teeth and the same age as my tongue - as mum always said, I wonder what will happen to my friends when I die? I expect they will all end up in a skip, along with most of what I own, having become nothing more than a nuisance to those stalwarts entrusted with sweeping away the detritus of a life.
So should I begin now with ridding myself of these millions of captive words? Is the defacing of their poor corners the beginning of the end? And does it matter?
Does anything matter?? Is the Virus or its peers going to rid the planet of troublesome man anyway? Aren't dusty old books just dangerous in- between stations for busy little colonialists eventually seeking loamy lung tissue to settle and multiply?
Is that a non-productive cough beginning in the library?
Going to bed once always meant being accompanied by reading matter. Nowadays, I find myself flirting with the bedroom television, with fare such as free Freeview Sports, or worse, Babestation! Even Robichaux, Clete, Pike and Elvis Cole have palled, to the possible chagrin of authors Robert Crais and James Lee Burke, should someone tell them. Reacher, I can easily do without, I think he's gay anyway. (sorry Lee Child).
Turning down the corner of a page in a book instantly devalues it. And it leaves a permanent scar which nothing will remove.
Worse, I suppose, are those careless readers who pass books on with the pages still turned down. What a put-down of the publication that is. It says, "Look, this book wasn't even worth finishing" Almost as bad as the absolute sociopaths who remove pages, leaving the new reader to leap an intellectual or literary gap and try to pick up the loose ends of the plot.
If only more people cared for books these days. I would be happy to donate the lot free of charge. Or take them to the charity shops. But the situation will soon arrive when we will have to pay to dispose of them.
Soon, it won't matter that an undistinguished and little-known retired journalist who had once loved his flock had begun to treat them with indifference and cruelty. Cremation will have ended our long partnership and our suffering.


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    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Haha!! You made me laugh - thank You.

      I am not a fan of London either. I mean, it's got some nice places to see but it's so bloody busy. It's like, if I thought Toronto was bad, well London is like fifty times worse. My second time in England, I did not know how to quicker leave London and head to the country-side. Haha!!

      All the very best!

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      11 months ago from UK and Mexico

      My take on that is I feel safer in Mexico than in London these days.

      But I am a relic, My Happy, really out of touch with life south of the border.

      I had friends who were heavy coke dealers in Cuernavaca, they, or rather, she, acted without co-operation with cartels but did have some heavy politicos as friends...it's all a lottery I guess...like life!

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Totally unrelated but I am curious: how's the life of a gringo down in Mexico, regarding the cartels? Any concerns?

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      11 months ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi there Clark. Yes, I remember our mails of years past. Friends in DF are having a tough time of it; it must burn out there soon. The virus doesn't seem to do so well near the sea, PV may be soon OK.

      You are so right about the books...they were there through the highs and lows...

      Que tienes suerte en Mexico Clark.

      adios Bob

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      11 months ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi there Clark. Yes, I remember our mails of years past. Friends in DF are having a tough time of it; it must burn out there soon. The virus doesn't seem to do so well near the sea, PV may be soon OK.

      You are so right about the books...they were there through the highs and lows...

      Que tienes suerte en Mexico Clark.

      adios Bob

    • moonfroth profile image

      Clark Cook 

      11 months ago from Vancouver ara, British Columbia, Canada

      Diogenes--If you give up those treasured books you've lugged around the world for a big chunk of your life, you will be one sorry puppy. Wherever you went, whatever you lost, whomever shoved it to ya . . . .your books were there, that solidity, that tangible thread back through WRITING to who you are.

      I hope to be in our mutually-beloved Mexico from 10 - 26 of November (Puerto Vallarta) provided the "numbers" re The Virus are favorable at both ends. You and I fantasized years ago about getting together down there sometime. So start planning, good buddy . . .

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      11 months ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Will: Paperbacks are ok turned on the spine side, but heavy hard backs suffer.

      It's just...in my case anyway, as you get to the final furlong, I have lost deep feelings for most things, including my books.

      Such a shame kids today and adults too here have little interest in a good book.

      They'll never know what they have missed!!

    • diogenes profile imageAUTHOR

      diogenes 

      11 months ago from UK and Mexico

      Mr Happy: You've got the right idea, don't hoard; pass them on. The only thing is the whim strikes you to look at one again as the years roll by and if they've gone, well, you can't do that.

      Time for me to unburden myself now they are all getting dog-eared!

      I collect knives now, I guess my books have become too tame.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      I prefer the permanence of a book as Mr. Will Star too. There's something special about turning a page. I like turning pages and if I am doing research I actually write, or underline in the book. Hey, it's mine. I can do whatever I want with it, haha!!

      Books I use for research, I keep. Who wants books full of my scribbles anyway? Other books though, I read and I give away. Unless I am going to keep a book to use at a later time as reference, I do not keep them. I do not want to feel like I am hording books.

      Search for a used book store. They might take some. I would probably look through your pile if You had a garage sale. I love books!

      I had a pile of books I wanted to give away and left it in the hallway by the door. I never ended-up taking them anywhere because as people came and went out of the house (family and friends), finding out those books were to be given away, they kept taking from them until nothing was left. Haha!! It worked out well.

      Thanks for the review on that Kindle thing. I'm certainly not buying one. Can't even say that I'm too old for those things. I just don't like them. One of my good friends gave me a tablet for free a few months ago. I'll take one if it's free I guess. Haha!! No, I'm not a cheapo, I just don't spend money on nonsense.

      Alrighty, enough of me.

      All the very best to You!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      11 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I much prefer the feel and permanence of a book. I too have a Kindle (a Christmas present that has to be used lest feelings be hurt), but after being warned several times that my reading was about to be cut short due to lack of battery charge, I appreciate the reliability of a paperback. I can put it up for months or even years and it's ready to go after I dust it off.

      All my page corners are un-turned because I have been trained to use something, anything, as a bookmark. But the backings are coming unglued because I often leave a book open and upside down to hold my place. I too am a book sinner.

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