Confessions of a Book Abuser

When I moved back down-under from living in the UK, there were a couple of things that I realised I had been missing for some years – Australia has second hand furniture shops and second hand book sales. Second hand books readily available!

Locally there are several second hand book stores I am aware of, (some are restaurants with books on the side) but my family particularly enjoys the local book fairs. We take along some of our own book collection to deposit in the bins. Then, sporting large canvas bags, we pile into a community hall somewhere and tackle the masses of people rifling through the huge tables full of reading-reading-reading. The fairs support a charity, which is an additional bonus.

My family are also regular library borrowers. Which brings up my own sordid little confession :

I’m not heavily into bookmarks. Flat ones fall out, and get lost all the time. All those newer whiz-bang contraptions like rubber band bookmarks, or magnetic ones – those just make dents or rips in the pages, or force the spine open more. So my guilty mind suggests.

Instead, and this is a bad habit that I’ve not managed to put to bed for forty years, I am a folder – I dog-ear the corner of the page I’m on.

Before you send me threats or dead rabbits in the post, let me come to my own defense: –

When I’m buying second hand books, or borrowing from the library, I actually like books that look like they’ve had a life: a little ragged around the edges, maybe even the spine cracked, some folded corners – the signs that somebody else has enjoyed the book. Even better – when I find a sticky note with some thoughts or something on it tucked into a page – it’s like little shared treasures and whispers – look, we both enjoyed this book.

I shy away from the brand new books out on the front shelves, because I figure somebody else should have the fear pleasure of marking those and cracking them first. (Writers have the fear of the blank page, as a reader, I have a fear of the newly printed page).

If I do buy myself a new book and have pleasure in reading it, I will either gift it to the book fairs, or sometimes I RAK it – random acts of kindness – I purposely take it somewhere public, and with shifty eyes, “accidentally” drop it onto a table, then scarper out of there like I’d just dumped an unwanted puppy or something. I hang around outside for a while, trying to see if anybody picks up the puppy book, and takes it home.

I’ve just registered at, to see if I can setup more puppy book catching locally. Even with my puppy-earred books.

Of course, Librarians probably don’t like me, and nor do snobby bibliophiles captured in Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s latest comic. So I try to keep my folding to a minimum, and not do it in front of my daughter in case the habit migrates.

What are your guilty confessions on your own reading habits?


3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Book Abuser

  1. I still love you anyway… and have been guilty of dog-earing in a crisis. Books are like people, they are meant to be loved and sometimes they look that way.

    1. Spat out my morning coffee when reading this. That’s me, loved and dog-earred a little on the corners.

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