Too fond of books

Sometimes, I think my DH believes Louisa May Alcott was talking about me when she said: “She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” Don't bother pointing out that Louisa May lived in a different era. You wouldn't change my husband's mind at all.

Books - hardback, paperback, even a few leather-bound - overflow shelves in nearly every room of my house. Indeed, one wall of my office--a room I lovingly refer to as The Library - is floor to ceiling books. I can't think of a better place in which to work than my library.

If you are a reader or a writer, books are a part of your home or should be, though I have known one man who had aspirations of being a published author who freely admitted that he hated to read. I still don't understand that.

Books, books everywhere yet I wonder how many of us know the proper way to care for these treasures. So here's a few tips on how to care for books.

1. Prevent warping by storing books upright. It's best to completely fill the book shelf. If you don't have enough books to do this, be sure to use strong bookends.

2. Insects, heat, and humidity are a book's worst enemies. Keep food and beverages away from books. Insects such as cockroaches, silverfish, and carpet beetle larvae, better known as the bookworm (yes, there really is a bookworm), are attracted to the smallest residues of nutrients. So keep books clean, cool, dry, and nutrient-free.

3. Use bookmarks to hold your place in a book. Don't “dog ear” the page or lay the book down, open-faced. This damages the spine of the book.

4. Books aren't double-jointed. Never force one open past its own natural angle.

5. The purpose of the dust jacket, the paper cover that comes on hardbacks, is to keep the book from becoming soiled and to protect it from wear and tear. So use it.

According to publishers' statistics, more books than ever are being sold. The number of hardcover books published and sold each year has risen dramatically. Our personal book collections are more valuable than we realize. In fact, if you add up the amount you have invested in your personal library, you might be stunned by the tally.

The staff here at Sling Words is guilty of all of the bad habits the above rules address. This is a new year so the new office policy dictates better care of our printed assets. Perhaps you will resolve to form better habits as well and teach them to your kids.

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