I like second hand books. Not because they are cheaper than the brand new ones, but because of their condition.
It pains me to start reading a new book. I realised this as I was sitting in an Exclusive Books today. I was waiting for Flip after work, for a sushi date. I levitated around the shop, read a white greeting card that had ‘Grow old with me…the best is yet to be’ printed in bold American typewriter font, then drifted along with the Jazz music – could be old Blue Eyes crooning – to a section with baby books. Curiosity only kills cats, not 26-year old married women.
This is where I found the pristine, just unpacked, still white, still fragrantless copy of ‘The Fault in our stars’. I wanted to read pieces of it, after I saw the movie, but I was too scared to bend it, to flip through its pages. Next to it, ironically, was the author’s newer book Paper Towns. But, this book had been read. It had a fold on the top right corner, it had the telltale backfold of a reader opening and pressing it down, the manhandled browning of the pages, the book smell. Do books only acquire a smell after it has been touched by humans? Do books have different smells?
I love books that have been lived in before I start reading it. Perhaps it has a tear stain from that unbearably heartbreaking departure of a friend; perhaps even tears of joy? Maybe it has a little chocolate smear, because the previous owner couldn’t resist eating a chocolate while reading about her new best friend’s trials and tribulations. Will she kiss the guy or not?
Perhaps the reader soaked in a bubble bath and accidentally got a little water on the bottom.
These are the books I love. Books that tell a story before the first page has even been turned.
Picture: We Heart It