As I have become more serious about reading, I have become much meaner to my books. My books suffer all sorts off abuse; they get written in, tossed in my backpack, tabbed, eaten over and generally abused. Most of my soft covers have mushed corners, and even my hardcovers have scratches and dirt on the edges.

My dad has the opposite attitude toward his books. He covers all his books in heavy paper wrappings before he reads them and is generally very careful with them, and he has always admonished me to be gentle with my books.

My father and I are very similar in many other respects, so I am not sure what could account for the difference between our attitudes towards books. Perhaps the difference is simply generational, but I asked him if books used to be a lot more expensive and he claims they’re actually more expensive now. He claims that the difference is that he sees that books are meant to be treated well so that you can have a library, but I already have a bookshelf of which I am proud, despite their condition. Sometimes I even buy books that I have already borrowed from the library and read, just so I can show them off on my bookshelf.

I have noticed that I am somewhat embarrassed to lend out my books because I have written in them, and I am afraid that others will think less of me after reading the silly or arrogant things I have written. My dad thinks my embarrassment means I will learn to be respectful of my books, and I suppose that is possible.

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