Because of the storm yesterday, my copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife was almost a victim of book death.
What’s book death? Books aren’t living creatures, how can they be killed? Well, they are made of trees, and aren’t trees living organisms? That aside, book death is my term when books cease to remain functional for you.
Take for example soaking your book in water. Is it still intact? Yes. Is it readable? Probably not. And the pages are probably sticking to each other, and bloated in irregular shapes. A coffee stain on a novel is not book death. You’re merely inconvenienced. A book thrown into the shredding machine constitutes book homicide. You should be shot on the spot.
Anyway, water is a lethal opponent of books. It warps it at best, destroys it at its worst. The rain managed to seep into my envelope, my notebooks being its first victims. Thankfully, it ceased by the time it approached my novel (perhaps the fact that it’s a Vintage book also helps… never underestimate the power of cover coating!).
I’ve experienced a few book deaths in my life. The Robots of Dawn fell victim to a similar experience, except its plastic casing couldn’t shield it from the rain forever. Some of my Vampire: The Masquerade fell victim to faulty air conditioning, warping the middle parts of the book but not the covers or the outer pages. Then there’s my friend’s Dragonlance books, which again fell victim to rain.
More common though is book theft. Apparently, writers aren’t the only people who are starving. So are readers. Haven’t you encountered the scenario when you say you’ll return the book, plan to return the book, but never get to do so? Welcome to the world of book theft. You’ve just committed a book crime.
There’s also this one incident when I ordered a book from my friend. I handed the book to her, but she hasn’t paid for it yet. So somebody out there owns me a few thousand pesos, but she’s not paying. Not exactly book theft but more of financial theft. Of course financial theft means I have less books to buy, so it can lead to book death as well.
Right now, I’m still waiting for vermin to literally eat my books. That hasn’t happened yet, although a rat did come close. I stopped putting my books on the floor when a rat ran rampant in my room.