Blogger Confession: I am book bender aka non-gentle reader!

Posted July 16, 2012 by Felicia S in Blogger Confession / 49 Comments


WARNING: If your heart stops at the sight of book spines being broken, pages being dog marked, or worse yet marks in a book then look away!  This post is going to send you to the hospital or to my house to rescue all my books.

(I stole Amanda’s moniker for this confession because it describes perfectly how I read a book though I am quite sure she means she is on a bender!)

Blogger Confession: I AM A BOOK BENDER!

There I said it and I feel better.  I feel like in the world of book readers that us book benders are not really liked.  Our books are looked at in scorn and pity.  They wonder how we could bend the spines, dog-ear the corners of the pages, and even worse read while eating/drinking/crying (things might spill).  I am pretty sure that the purist out there want to rescue my books from their evil owner and thrust an eReader into my hands (I do have one and actually prefer reading on it so you can let out a sigh of relief).

Here is the thing y’all: the worse my book looks the more it is loved!

I try to be gentle with the books that I am going to pass on to other readers but even then only slightly less gentle.  I might not dog-ear the corners but I can almost guarantee that the spine will be broken.  I like to read while cooking, walking, and sometimes swimming.  I have taken a book into the bath tub and gotten water on it.

I have just never gotten the “be gentle with books” memo. Though the more I hang out with other hardcore readers, the more I realize I am in the minority.

Are there any more book benders out there?

Do you shrink in fear at book benders?  Do their actions haunt your nightmares?

Plus side of being a book bender: hardly anyone asks to borrow my books (except family because they are all book benders too).

Down side: I make sure to never borrow books either!  I don’t want to return it in a broken spine state (wouldn’t be on purpose but out of habit)

Here is a photo example of one of my actual books that I have only read once:

Dirt on the pages probably from reading while cooking…
See the spine doesn’t look to bad..,,
Ok maybe it does…
I dog-eared a few pages and then carried it in my bag. I am pretty sure that is where the second bend came from…

So am I the only book bender out there?  Are there others hiding in the shadows?

Do these picture make you want to cringe?

Do you have something you do to all your paper books? I am really curious 🙂

NOTE: This is why not all my books end up in the RIPI bin.  I do try to pass along the ones that don’t look like they have been through the Felicia gauntlet.  However, I make no promises about the spines!


Felicia S
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49 responses to “Blogger Confession: I am book bender aka non-gentle reader!

  1. hahah! i used to be one of those girls who wanted to keep her book pristine and perfect. but then i started meeting people that read too and i lent them my books. of course they still joke with me about how i’m the book nazi and that they’re afraid of borrowing my books, but i rather have them read my books so we can discuss than them not.

  2. Lol. While I’m not exactly gentle with my books, I think you’ve got me beat. I didn’t cringe until I got to the food stained pages. 🙂

  3. I think I’m a “down the middle reader” as well. When I was in high school, I was OBSESSED with my books’ condition. I actually had people on my never-lend-a-book-to again list because they would fold a page or crack the spine! I still have friends who are like I was, and I understand it, but I’ve mellowed out a lot as I’ve gotten older. While I try to keep my books in good condition, I also read while eating and drinking, and I lend my books out a LOT. Most of my friends consider me to be their own personal mini-library, and I’m happy to provide that service. When it comes down to it, I’d much rather have a book be read multiple times by different kinds of readers and be a little worse for wear then just sit on my shelf.

    • That is a good point! I think for me it is because when I was growing up I only really had second (third, fourth) hand books. We all swapped books so they were so tattered that I got used to my books being that way. My books actually look better now than when I was younger (now that should make you cringe) LOL

      I do like the feel and look of a borrowed book! It means it has been loved by many people 🙂

      • PLUS…being a book bender…or being okay with some sorts of book bending opens up the world of USED BOOK STORES/SITES!!!! Lol. I’m all for saving money, and used books are so cheap! I do have two things that will stop me from buying a used book though: water damage and loose pages. Those are just two things that I can’t get used to! Also, have you ever tried Better World Books? They have a ton of used books for sale for great prices, and they ship free worldwide. Cool, right? They should totally hire me for marketing, by the way. I’m constantly hounding people to check them out. 🙂 Lol.

  4. I think I’m halfway down the middle here – like you, I believe the more worn a book is, the more it has been loved. I could never understand the people who wanted their books to be pristine after reading them! As one of my favorite books, Inkheart, says “books collect memories in their paper, which is why they’re so much fatter when you’re done with them” (or something like that, I don’t have the book in front of me). On the other hand, I want to preserve the books as much as I can, especially if they’re favorites, because I want to be able to read them over and over again, and I’m too poor to buy myself multiple copies if it can be avoided. The only book I’ve ever had to all out replace is my first Harry Potter, and that after 20-30 readings! I still haven’t thrown out my first copy though, for sentimental reasons… So, yeah, I agree with you, but I’m perhaps not quite so extreme lol.

    • That is an awesome quote!!!

      I have kept my first copies of HP too! I mean they are well-loved and falling apart BUT there was lots of love in that copy 🙂

      When I couldn’t afford to replace my favorites (which I now do in digital), I was a little more careful with them. Now if I read a book and KNOW that I am going to reread it A LOT–I get a digital copy. Those just end up with tons of highlights 🙂

  5. Ruby

    I don’t like to break the spines of my books, but I don’t worry too much about mass markets. They’re cheap because they’re cheaply made, and cracking the spine is practically inevitable. What I don’t like is people who leave books open, and face down. This really, really irritates me. Almost anything can be used as a bookmark in a pinch, so I don’t think there’s any excuse for it.

    Sometimes I like to buy used books for the express purpose of mishandling them. Those are the ones I can take in the bathtub with me, or whose pages I don’t mind seeing splattered with tomato sauce or smeared with oily fingerprints.

    • Mass Markets are cheap! It doesn’t matter if you handle them with kid gloves they are coming apart!

      Oh I would irritate the bejooves out of you—I do that book face down on the counter all the time! I have TONS of bookmarks but I just never have one around when I need it (aka it isn’t where I am but if I walked 5 ft there would probably be one) LOL


  6. I see me driving to TX for an intervention soon! I feel so sorry for those books. I want to help them. I want to help you. I have bookmarks, I can mail you some.

    The only books I own that look rough are the ones I bought used. Typically when I finish a book it still looks new.

    • My books wouldn’t know what to do if they suddenly lived in a nice environment LOL I think they would feel like that they would have no idea how to act!

  7. Lol, I love it when I buy secondhand books and they look brandnew. But when I read, I do crack the spine a little. As a kid I used to dogear books, but now I have so many bookmarks, I never run out and diligently use them. And I eat and drink while reading, though I am carefull not to have dirty fingers.
    I also read in the bathtub, but never the brand new books, only old secondhand books and re-reads. If the book falls in the tub, I just have to replace it, I hate a wrinkly book.
    And yes, my childrens books do fall apart, but that is where sticky tape is for, right?
    My stepdaughter is reading my books, and I really hate how she treats them, I very quickly put a stop to dogearing the pages, and gave her a stack of bookmarks to use.

    • 🙂

      I can’t imagine what it would be like to have children reading my books if I was really careful with them. I could lend my book to a child no problem (unless they are the tearing pages kind of child) and wouldn’t worry about it at all!

      I love that you have a bathtub rule for your books! That is just AWESOME!

  8. *gasp gasp gasp* I’m hyperventilating here! LOL. I used to be a stickler about having a book still look brand new after reading it, but I’m more relaxed now. I like getting “bendy” with my cozy mystery paperbacks.

  9. LOL–I used to be as bad as you with the “book bending” but am about half and half nowadays. With my regular paperbacks and hardcovers, I’m all about breaking the spine and dogearing the pages (usually these are books I’ve purchased) but with my trade paperbacks and ARCs, I’ve got a no-bending-no-dogearing policy. Yes. I’m weird. But I love the look of both used and abused books and carefully read ones!

  10. Jayla

    I am definitely a book bender. Though it hasn’t happened yet, I fear when someone will lend me a book because I am will do damage! It’s natural. It’s healthy.

    yay for book benders!

  11. Haha great post! I used to be a dog-ear type but have since changed my ways. The inside of my books look almost as good as new now. It’s my covers that look like they did battle with the Tasmanian Devil though lol especially the spines! I’m definitely a spine-breaker heh.

  12. I’ve always wondered if people think my Twitter handle means that I bend books. I don’t, actually. Perhaps this isn’t so surprisingly, but I’m actually very similar to Kelly when it comes to reading books. I’m pretty gentle. I don’t ever try to be gentle, it just happens that way.

    Though I have to be honest: I had expected Kelly to be rough. I hear that’s how she likes it.

    • I had someone call me that at book club and I was going I have never thought Amanda’s handle even remotely referred to that! LOL I guess I think of drinking first —bending spines never even crossed my mind!

      I am not surprised that either you or Kelley are gentle readers. That being said I almost snorted out tea through my nose at the rough! You know she does LOL

  13. My name is B and I am a bookbender too *stands up* It’s my life and I am proud of it 😉

    One poor book is so wellread that I actually went and taped the spine

  14. Ruth

    As a non-bender, I’m embarrass to get my gently read book signed because it looks too new. I blame the old TV show The Pretender for this.

  15. This cracked me up! I am the same way. I need to get comfortable with a book. I bend it, fold pages, eat while reading leading to crumbs and stains. I get paranoid when I borrow books because I work hard to keep them extra pristine while they are in my care. Is there a support group for us? 😉

  16. Where is SPCA for books, because they need to be called about you! 🙂

    “The worse my book looks the more it is loved!” I’m a book abuser too, so I can totally identify. 🙂

  17. “the worse my book looks the more it is loved!”

    YES! This!

    I feel the same. I’m a messy reader. I read everywhere, and with dirty hands, and in all kind of positions. I love reading because it’s relaxing, and I wouldn’t be relaxed if I couldn’t bend my book to my will. LOL

  18. Love this post! I try to be gentle with my books but it does not bother me at all to bend a book or dog-ear it or eat while reading. And like you I think that the more beat up a book looks, the more it is loved. One of my favorite and most valuable books is one that I carry with me in my purse all the time. The cover has ripped off, the pages are bent, and the spine is shot. Here’s a confession – one of my favorite snacks used to be hot cheetos. Sooo if you were to borrow one of my Harry Potter books, you would definitely see red marks from my fingers 🙂

  19. Yikes, you are hard on your books. I am much more gentle these days, except when I leave a book unattended and a curious toddler gets a hold of it, that is why ebooks are so much better for me, a toddler’s grubby hands can’t mar the pages. I used to bend the spines like you, but again, I have seen th error of my ways. I have had to replace Gone With the Wind a couple of times as well as Catcher in th Rye and IT! You are not alone!

  20. Lol. I used to be a dog-ear person & still resort to it in a pinch. I’ve moved to a jumble of sticky notes that are probably equally horrific.

    Water is my big cringe. My kid spills on every book. She takes books to the bathroom, the car, and the pool and the covers and pages go all warpy. Im so happy my hubby is reading, but I’m leary of which books to give him. He rolls the covers back 180 degrees and gets them wet enough at the pool some of the covers have torn.

    I love to loan out books, but have nightmares of what condition they are going to come back in.

    • I have dog hair in all my books and Tonks has licked the covers more than once. She loves to “inspect” my book shelves!

      Water does bug me a little if only because it warps the book and my space is limited. That being said almost all my favorites have water stains LOL

  21. Wow. The Felicia Gauntlet. I’m imagining knights in full suits of armor hacking at those poor books as they weave their way through your life.

    I’m the complete opposite. I’ve had people tell me that they can’t tell which of my books are new and which I’ve already read before. I’m super good about not cracking the spines when I read (unless it’s a fat book, then things might happen). I think I’m kind of a freak in that regard, though, so … yeah. *looks back at those pictures and laughs at the Felicia Gauntlet*

    • LOL

      I send all my little soldiers in to make sure the book is broken in before I start! They are very good at their jobs too.

      Actually, you are more the norm for my real life book club. They cringe when they see me with a paper book. They are all non-benders!