Friday, March 11, 2011

I Broke My Spine --

-- of my Barney's Version.
It's not funny.
My book needs a chiropractor gifted with the healing properties of…. Jesus!
Never mind the horrors of the Japan earthquake today. Can we talk?
I was at Starbucks tonight. Reading away and somehow lost my bookmark.
So, when I got up to get a refill of coffee I flipped the book over and [horrors] I broke the spine of the thing. It was agonizing. I felt it in my deep heart's core!
I am not all that picky about books, really. Torn covers, bent pages, previous marginalization. I take it in stride!
But a broken spine?
It really will not do.
And so I am chagrined.
Will I quit reading this book because of its new vertebrae problems?
However -- I recall a time when I actually did abandon a book because of its spinal deformity.
It happened around 25 years ago.
I was reading Martin Gilbert's The Holocaust in the back yard of my home, way back on Argyle Street North. My dear Aunt Evelyn, who was visiting at the time, came outside and asked me what I was reading.
When I handed her the gargantuan volume she grabbed it and CRACKED ITS SPINE RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE.
Where the section of photographs were.
I nearly vomited.

She said, "Hmm. Looks interesting," and handed it back to me as I gasped for air, sweating great drops of blood all over dad's lawn.
<-- Look! You can even see the line down the middle, the evidence of injury!
I not only still have the book, I even have the bookmark in it, at page 436.
Here's the kicker --
To this day I have never read another page of that book.
Something about paraplegic books -- I just lose interest.
How about you?
Does it really bother you when you irretrievably crack the spine of a book?



Jeane said...

ye gads. I am horrified when bookish spines get cracked. Because then it's only a matter of time before pages start falling out and the entire thing disintegrates. They never last long once their backs are broken...

Anonymous said...

Yikes!!! I don't know how you managed not to say anything to your aunt! I would have been hysterical! They would have had to use a defibrilator on me.

A cracked spine on a book is the saddest thing imaginable. Oh the horror!

p.s. Finish The Holocaust. It's well worth it even thus defiled by your aunt.

Stefanie said...

How did you manage to not scream and faint when you aunt cracked the spine? I try very hard to not break the spine of my books but sometimes it just happens especially when it is a big fat mass market. I always feel bad there is only so much that can be done sometimes.

Cipriano said...

Three people in a row, also appropriately horrified by book-spine disaster.
It's true, the books are never the same!
It must stand. It must walk. It must.

Anonymous said...

I don't really mind it all that much. I'm after the words more. I wouldn't BREAK a spine intentionally, but I don't go bazookas if it happens.

Merisi said...

Sheer horror! My empathy.
I think I have never had a book with a broken spine.
May have to do with learning at an early age how to handle even heavy tomes: my father had us read encyclopedias when we were still so small they could have killed us if we were not very careful while holding them. ;-)

Alyce said...

Yes it bothers me, but I usually get over it pretty quickly (and then give the book away so I don't have to look at it). Honestly I can't remember the last time I broke a spine - but I know I have in the past.

My husband and I were just having a conversation about our differences in book care yesterday. He was telling me how he makes a point of not dog-earring corners, writing on pages or doing anything else that would damage my books when he reads them. He says in his opinion the more damaged a book is the more it shows it has been loved. He teases me a bit about how careful I am with my books.

Priori said...

Hmmm my favorite book in the world has its spine broken in three parts... it's so much broken that I'd say it no longer is actually a book, but rather a collection of pages. I don't have pages 117 to 140. I've thought about buying a new copy of it, so I can for once read the missing pages, but I feel bad doing that. My friend also has the book, so I just try to get my "117 to 140" fix when I'm visiting.

Cipriano said...

Anonymous -- true enough, it is the words that are the important thing. But there is an aesthetic thing happening with me and books.... ach, I can't get over it. I like a NICE book.

Merisi -- you seem also to love a good looking book.

Alyce -- I am very much like you. I don't write in books, or bend pages. I remove dust jackets so they look perfect when I am done the book... all that jazz.

Priori -- This is so hilarious what you are saying, I'm not kidding. I laughed so hard I hurt my spine!
So nice to hear from you!

BBB said...

The worst thing is that the more we pay for books the weaker they seem to get.

Broken spines are disappointing, however, some of my most treasured books have spina bifida. Great books are most often victims of this chance of fate because they are most often put at risk.

Cipriano said...

True enough, BBB -- the books we love best, get unfolded the most.
Is this why my War And Peace looks like Whore in Pieces?
[I've been drinking tonight!]
Vive le durable spine!