Monday, August 23, 2010

Welcome to my book OCD

The Reading Ape recently had a post about the "extra-reading activities" book lovers partake in.  You should absolutely check out the post as well as the comments to see a glimpse into the insanity that is book lovers.  Of course if you're reading this blog you are, at least somewhat, a book lover yourself and know the insanity all too well.  I love this topic and wanted to share some of my ridiculousness with you.

I hate when books are dog-eared, covers folded over, spine cracked, pages written on, etc.  I like my books to look as pristine as possible.  I'm not sure why I care so much, but it's enough that I have certain people who are allowed to borrow my books.  It's not that I think people are going to actively destroy my books out of spite but there are only certain friends I've told of my ridiculousness because I know it's silly.  My one friend is amazing and he accidentally bent/tore the cover of one of my books and has gotten me a replacement copy.  This is also my friend that got be a first folio copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream because he is an awesome book gift giver.

There are exceptions to my "no writing in books" rule.  My college text books have all kinds of writing and highlighting in them.  I like going through some of these text and I can tell if I had any idea what was going on by the amount of highlighting I did.  Oh, the entire essay describing Russian formalists theory is highlighted?  Clearly I thought "I have no idea what this means and what's important so I'll just highlight all of it and hope I've stumbled across the part I'll need to know about."  I don't even mind if I buy a used book that has writing in it.  I just won't do the writing myself, which is stupid because I like the idea of going back and seeing what I've written.  I think one of those e-readers that lets you take margin notes and highlight things would be fantastic for me, at least in theory.  I'm trying out both the Kindle app and the iBooks app on my iPod Touch and I've used the highlighting stuff minimally so far. 

I also like my books in a series to match.  I prefer them to be all the same style, publisher etc. My Vonnegut books all match, my Fforde books all look similar.  My Bryson books don't match and for whatever reason that doesn't actually bother me.  I think this just goes to show that even I don't understand my arbitrary rules.  I have 2 sets that have given me a lot of grief.

My Lord of the Rings trilogy doesn't match.  I was never a fan of the books but got dragged to the first movie when it came out and was surprised to find that I loved it!  I went out and bought the first book and...well...I made it through with a lot of effort.  I decided to not read the next book before the movie came out because I didn't want the book to ruin the movie.  I knew I liked the movie better but I was willing to give the books another chance.  Well, after I saw the second movie I went out and bought both the second and third book.  But I failed to notice that they had slightly changed the spine image.  Now instead of creating one scene going across all of the books, it's all messed up.  This bothers me to no end and I wish I had just waited until the last movie came out, so then none of the books would match.  Because I know this was stupid, I won't go out and buy another copy of a book I already own just so I could make sure my set matched.  Or in this case, evenly does not match.  I'd be fine if all of the spine images were different; it's the fact that 2 are the same that drives me nuts. So now the books just taunt me.  Perhaps that's why I couldn't make it through the third book.  The Hobbit doesn't match but since it's not actually part of the trilogy and I got it when I was little, it doesn't bother me.  See, arbitrary rules.

As I mentioned, I don't mind if the whole set intentionally doesn't match and that is the case with my Harry Potter set.  I didn't start reading Harry Potter until late in college.  I obviously knew of the books before that but I only started reading it because I wanted books to bring with me to Italy and my brother had a copy of the first one.  I enjoyed it enough to buy the second book at the bookstore in the Rome train station (which has a small but wonderful English language section).  I then put down the series and didn't think about it again until a few years later when the last book came out and my then-roommate was super excited about it.  Wanting me to join her excitement, she lent me the third book during a beach trip.  I underestimated exactly how pale I am and got super sunburned (screw you SPF75 sunscreen) so for the next week I couldn't do much except lay on my stomach and read, so I made it through the next couple books.  I mostly borrowed my friend's books, but I also took a hard cover copy of the 4th book from Brother and bought the fifth book.  Now my collection was all over the place and I realized none of my books matched.  I debated a few times buying one of the complete sets but I had already bought 2 of the books in the series and acquired 2 more and it seemed silly to buy 7 books when I only needed 3.  Cheapness beats out crazy most days.  I instead went for the "I'll make it intentionally not match" method.  The hardest one to find is the 6th book, because I wanted it to be short like the second copy.  Thank you self-conscious HP readers for creating an "adult cover" version of the book.  Part of me was afraid I was going to end up with some weird HP fanfic, which would have been extra fun seeing how the package was being sent to my work.  But I lucked out and now my collection makes sense to me.

This is really the tip of the iceberg.  Perhaps I'll have a future entry with some other book insanity but I think this is enough for one day.