Wall-Bangers & Book Etiquette

I was thinking about the term “wall-banger”. Does anybody really throw books against the wall?

*erica shudders*

Not me! I practically burst into tears if I accidentally crease the spines. And I will use any random object within arm’s reach before dog-earing a corner to mark my spot. Books are just… special to me. I get really honked off when I check out a library book and there’s coffee stains and missing pages and highlighted passages—Grrr.

(I seem to have a lot of Care And Feeding Of Books angst today.)

Anybody else out there cringe when a book you loaned out comes back creased and bent? Or are you a spine-breaker and corner-folder?

P.S. I’m over in Mavenland today dishing about POV and Sub Plots–come tell me whether you agree or disagree with my assertions! =)


  1. B.E. Sanderson - Reply

    LOL, that’s why I almost never loan books out. I loaned one out recently; it came back slightly scuffed and I was offended. You’d have been proud, though, I kept my irritation to myself. I just won’t be loaning any out any time soon. I’ll give books away; if I don’t want them back, I don’t care what anyone else does with them.

    I could never throw a book against the wall. I’m a total snert about my books – even books I hate. I don’t crease them; I don’t write in them. I couldn’t even bring myself to highlight my textbooks in college. *sigh* Maybe there’s a support group somewhere for people like us. ;o)

  2. AngryMan - Reply

    YES! I hate it when a book gets messed up. Wifey is reading a book of ours right now and slightly bending all the top-right corners of the pages and it is freaking me out! I’m not going to say anything, though, b/c that would really be OCD of me. I’m just going to breathe deep and have a beer (or four).

  3. December/Stacia - Reply

    I don’t mind normal wear-and-tear or creased spines, but I almost had a fit once when I loaned a book to a friend and caught her dog-earing the pages. I hate that! Like you, I’ll use anything, even a tissue, to mark my page or just leave the book open before I’ll dog ear.

    Except my cookbooks. Those I dog-ear every recipe I see that looks good.

  4. Camilla Bartley - Reply

    I’ve only actually thrown one wallbanger against the wall. Other times I quietly pack the book away in the shopping bag from whence it came and think happy thoughts on how I can return it for something better. *g* I am anal about creased spines, but not about turning pages down in lieu of bookmarks. My biggest peeve is non-matching books. If I started a series in a certain format, I try my hardest to keep purchasing them that way. Which means I’m liable to read a release months or a year after it was released in HC because I started the series in paperback.

  5. Bill Clark - Reply

    I seem to have a lot of Care And Feeding Of Books angst today

    Hope you’re not substituting this for the Care And Feeding Of Miss Erica. 🙂

    Speaking of which, are you off the oatmeal yet? Still hacking, or less so?

    Books…I have so many of them it drives me nuts at time. A tear in a dust jacket is traumatic, like the first ding in a new car. But if you saw my well-loved and well-read set of the Narnia stories, you’d think I’d pulled them out of a dustbin instead of buying them new, back in once-upon-a-time land.

    So I try to keep my books as pristine as possible, down to the point where I keep them out of direct sunlight so the spines don’t fade. But I also recognize that books are mortal, too, and if they are more than pretty artifacts to admire in their neat rows on the shelves, then some wear and tear is inevitable. I try not to obsess about it…and mostly succeed. 🙂

  6. Vicki - Reply

    I never turn pages down. I’ll use a bookmark or just remember the page I was on.

    It’s hard to loan books unless I know they take care of them.

    Funny thing is when I look at some of my older books (that I’ve read a 100 times) the spines are creased. Now, I try very hard not to do that.

  7. Susan Helene Gottfried - Reply

    Yep, I hear you. I think it’s the writer in us; we understand how sacred books are.

  8. Miri - Reply

    I highly dislike to mess books up (the girl who spilled a glass of water on my copy of Inkheart was very, very lucky that NO ONE can be mad at her), but I try to keep it in a perspective of, books are meant to be read. And if they show signs of that, nothing outlandish, just the slight folds to show that it’s been held and loved, that gives it kind of a personality. (My copy of Lirael looks positively pinstriped spine-out, but then, it’s a brick-like paperback.) And in the case of the various wear and tear that happens outside my possession, if they tell me how much they loved the book later, they’re usually forgiven.

    However, any time I loan out a book to my sister or someone and I see they’ve dog-eared a corner, I smooth out the corner, write “Don’t fold my pages!” on a stickynote, and stick it to their spot. 🙂

  9. Calenhíril - Reply

    I hate it when I accidentally crack the spine of the book I’m reading. I could return most of the books I read to the bookstore and no one would know they had been read. I almost never dog-ear pages of books I own, but I will sometimes do it to library books (the horror!) usually because I start reading them right away and have *nothing* to mark them with. My magazines always get dog-eared, though.

    I almost never loan out books because I know what shape they will come back in.

  10. Diana Peterfreund - Reply

    yes, i throw bad books against the wall. But they are usually in much better shape than books i love, that I read until they fall apart, and then read some more. My copy of A Girl of the Limberlost is being held together by a rubberband.

  11. Celeste - Reply

    *raises hand meekly* I throw books, too. And I bend spines. Can I still comment once in a while? I like it here.

  12. Tessa Dare - Reply

    Uh… none of y’all ever lend me a book, ‘kay?

    Because I am MEAN to them. I am a writer AND a librarian, and still I treat my books like the bits of wood pulp they’re printed on. They get mangled. If not by me, by one of my little kids.

    I don’t know – I like to crawl inside a good book and live in it. Put up my feet, make a bit of a mess. I like to leave marks on it, the same way it leaves marks on me. I like a well-loved book to feel soft in my hands, just like a broken-in pair of jeans. To me, a pristine book is an unloved book.

    That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

  13. Darcy Burke - Reply

    I have to agree with Tessa. I’m pretty anal about stuff, but books, nah. I don’t dog ear hardbacks, probably because the pages are thicker. But my paperbacks are creased, folded, yep, stained (that’s a mark of a great book if I simply must juggle it while eating – no simple feat with mass market paperbacks!).

    That said, I do try to take extra good care of books that are loaned to me and return them in the condition in which I received them.

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Erica Ridley