dirty books

I picked up a dirty book from the library today. The edges are dusty, the plastic dustjacket is crinkled and torn, and the spine is weary. It’s exciting. I don’t mind dirty books. In fact, I rather like them.

When a book is weathered and dirty like that, I know that others have enjoyed it thoroughly. This book tells two stories, one on the pages and another in the scars it bears. This book has been read many times. This book has been dragged to work to be read on breaks, taken on vacation, earmarked, left open, and carried around in a bag. While I will try not leave my mark on this book, I can only hope this book will leave marks on me like it left on so many others.

I picked up Birds of Prey by Wilbur Smith on recommendation of an aunt (she recommended the author, I just happened to pull this title of the shelf first). But even before I got to see the cover I could feel the use and abuse the physical copy of this book had endured, and that was what made my decision. So many other people have capital-L-Loved this book. The blurb only confirmed it. I must read this.

Do you love dirty and weathered books? Does how well-loved a book is at a used bookstore or library have any bearing on your decision to read it?

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