That's the way the cookie crumbles, or should I say the book? When the cover fell off my 19th-century edition of the Liddell and Scott Greek dictionary, which I'd purchased cheaply at a used bookstore long ago, I was philosophical about it. Nothing lasts forever, I chirped.
But I am less chirpy now that some of my paperback classics are crumbling. I knew that paper didn't last forever, but that didn't apply to my books.
Here is how it happens. The pages turn yellow and acidic. Sometimes the covers fall off. My husband recently read a crumbling old Penguin of Mrs. Gaskell's North and South, though I urged him to read my newer Oxford. No, he prefers the compact old Penguins. And indeed I do not know why Penguins and Oxfords are now so large. He did not enjoy North and South. I wonder: Did the foxed pages influence him?
The foxed pages of my 1954 Penguin of Zola's Germinal, translated by Leonard Tancock, actually hurt my hands. I am allergic to acidic old paper. But if I replace it with a new Penguin, I also get a new translation, and I am nostalgic for my original reading experience. Perhaps that is why my husband is a faithful reader of old Penguins.
My Avon paperback copy of Elizabeth Bowen's Eva Trout is fragile, but the error on the first page - lines published out of order - gave me an excuse to quit before the book did.
What do you think of this puzzle of disordered lines?
"This is where we were to have spent the honeymoon," had pulled up the car on a grass track running along the Eva Trout said, suddenly, pointing across the water. She edge of a small lake.Of course they should be arranged as follows.
"This is where we were to have spent the honeymoon," Eva Trout said, suddenly, pointing across the water. She had pulled up the car on a grass track running along the edge of a small lake.Many wish to go back in time so they can be young. I want to go back in time so my books will be young again!