There are two kinds of readers – those who use bookmarks, and monsters.
I, am a monster.
But before you send me neatly written letters of protest and burn down my place of reading, let me explain.
I love books. I love them for what they are: an imaginative experience. I love holding books (fuck you, kindle), I love how they smell, the au de nostalgia, I love the font (or, sometimes, I hate the font, which is also interesting), I love the covers, and yes, I judge them as a piece of art in themselves, I love when the title on Stephen King books are raised and you run your finger over the bumps and I love that it’s tacky but also appropriate, and I love re-reading books, and re-re-reading books, and I love remembering lines and I love seeing a book well-used.
And it’s that last part, well-used, that makes me the monster I am.
Some time back I was re-reading Watchmen, a most-excellent graphic novel, and if your only understanding of Watchmen is the film then put away everything you know because you need to read the novel, mmkay? Anyway, I was reading through it, and, as often happens at the end of a long year of working hard, I was getting sleepy. So, I thought, I’ll just finish this page and then turn over and get some beauty sleep (of which I am seriously lacking.)
And then, just then, as I turned the corner of the page up the top right-hand-side, something funny happened. The corner bent with ease along a crease I had made at this exact moment some five years previous.
I paused for a moment and pressed the corner down, raised it up, pressed it down. Suddenly I was a barely-young-man, reading Watchmen for the first time, still living at home, mostly, still split between the halves of my self that wanted to see the world and hide under the duvet.
I have books at home that I have bled on. Books where I was so tense, enthralled and raptured that I bit my lip and shed on the page. Sometimes, when things are very tough, I turn up that memory, of the little boy blue-eyes worrying over fictitious characters until he bled. I have books that I’ve read until the pages came off and the corners rounded out. I have books I’ve spilled juice on, books I’ve left in the rain, books I’ve lost and found and given away and the thing that unites all these books is my hand. Every press of thumb to the corner, every faded-ink stain, every rip and tear and crumple; they are my design.
A book is only a book, until you make it your own. And it’s ok if you want to use bookmarks and keep your treasures clean. But I’ve always been a blood on the page kind of guy.
This blog was written by Shane ‘Well That Was Macabre’ Vaughan. If you’d like to see your words go on our bloggy-wog, just send your ideas in to firstname.lastname@example.org.