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An Ode to the Humble Paperback
I love a book by cramming it into a handbag even when it clearly doesn't fit, by holding it close to my chest when I'm sopping wet from a swim, by eating my dinner over it (I said mostly between my plate and my mouth), by turning the pages with so much enthusiasm that they have been known to rip. I can't help it, but I also cannot blame my mother for flat out refusing to lend me anything she hopes to reread in the future.
It is partly due to my borderline abusive relationship with books that I am partial to paperbacks. A paperback is more inclined to shift its shape to fit into a suitcase, it's better at absorbing water—and spaghetti sauce—and its pulpy pages only look more appreciated when they've been torn. When choosing between Lauren Conrad and Joseph Conrad, I am swayed as much by the flexibility of their spines (their paper ones, that is) as I am by the relative merits of their intellect.
Though my mother's bookshelves are now off limits to me, I believe an ability to absolutely destroy a book makes a person a better social librarian. A friend might give me a sidelong glance when I push a saltwater warped copy of Lush Life into her hands, but when she can't put it down during her workout, she doesn't worry about dripping sweat onto its pages. When I leave a dinner party host with my beat up copy of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, he feels no need to apologize if a little leftover salad dressing mars its cover on his watch.
Summer is the season of the paperback, so in that spirit, we've got nine books to love and leave behind (except in your heart). Toss them in a bike basket, read them in the pool or leave them at the cottage for next year's readers. Enjoying them might be a messy affair, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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