My Multifaceted Relationship with Books

The Basics:

I have sold books, studied books, taught books, bought books, borrowed books (but never stolen books, at least, not intentionally), collected books, published books, attempted writing books, (once I even threw a book,) and now I am attempting — again — to enjoy reading books.

And, for the first time, I am blogging about them.


I have packed books, stacked books, unpacked back-breaking boxed-up books, moved books, cleaned books, straightened up untidy books, reduced books, recycled books, and on occasion, otherwise disposed of books (but I’ll never admit to charcoaling a book).

Tip for cleaning used books: Windex on paperbacks works wonders.


I have alphabetized, categorized, and catalogued my books, I’ve annotated, colour-coordinated, and relocated my books, I’ve displayed books, counted books, referenced academic books, and made all kinds of lists of books: books I’ve read, books to read, and books I want to own, favourite books, funny books, and books that I have . . . lent.

I’ve also worked for books. (Which doesn’t fit any of the categories so I’ll just put it here.)


I have carefully penciled my underlines in books, just as carefully erased in books, worn white gloves while handling books, unintentionally damaged books, taped, glued, and stained books, treated dried-out leather books, wrapped dust jackets in their own covers of books, inherited old family books, collated tipped-in plates of books, collected signatures on the title page of books, and even autographed a few of my very own chapbooks.

Hold on to those, and maybe one day they’ll be worth millions.


I have lost books, forgotten books, foolishly loaned favourite books, received battered copies back of lent books, received nothing back of borrowed-out books, unintentionally baptized books, lusted after other people’s books, fallen out of love with certain youthful books, sold to second-hand shops of books, sold my soul by buying at big box stores of books, and given away a precious few books.

But as for the number of books I’ve encountered – why, I’ve lost track.


Question: What is your relationship with books?