Some books are dirty. For all different reasons. But of course I'm probably not thinking of the kind of books you are thinking of. I'm thinking of the books that are handled often and reflect the readers opinion of the book. I have a few dirty books. They could be old, reread at intervals and handled by many people. I cringe when I think of the time I asked someone not to pass my books they were borrowing onto someone else because they ended up "untidy". I look back now and should have celebrated the fact that they were read, experienced, enjoyed and given another run. I suppose some people want to keep their books looking brand new. And if by any chance I make a mark on someone's book I am mortified. At the moment I'm trying to work out what to do about the book that was left lying next to a felt tip pen that bled into the pages. That is one I will have to replace before returning. The books I don't want to be damaged I don't lend. But then there are not too many people asking me for a lend of my Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy.
And how about those books that you just can't put down and they end up with food on them from reading while eating breakfast/morning tea/lunch/afternoon tea/dinner/late night snack. I think the food stains are just a reflection of your love. The book is so enjoyable that you just can't put it down. The dirty books that are of the greatest concern to me are those that the kids have used as coloring books. One of my all time favourites, They're a Weird Mob by Nino Culotta has been attacked. I have the copy that was my Granfather's and was printed in 1974. I have read it at least 5 times and I have loaned it to others a few times. I recently picked it up and noticed a picture decorated with orange texta. The page is also a little ripped, the cover damaged and the pages are yellowed. But please don't buy me a new copy. I love it just how it is.
Another book that seems to get dirtier each day is my recipe book. It contains the recipes that I use often or hope to use one day. They are all favourites. Although I do get to the point where I think "I will never make this" and rip it out and replace it with a new recipe given to me by a friend/mum or from a mag or the internet. At this time of the year I open my recipe book to the Christmas Pudding page. It is time to make the pudding and stay at home and watch them bubbling on the stove for hours on end (all worth the effort on Christmas Day of course). The pages also have other often cooked recipes.
So dirty books are good. It shows their journey and your admiration. Maybe the dirtier the book the better? By the way, Grandma Cleary's Christmas Pudding with Stout can be found at the bottom of this blog page. It's yummy!