People's bottitudes fascinate me.
Bottitude is your attitude toward books - book attitude - bottitude. No, I know it won't catch on. Many of my personal words and phrases will not.
My wife is a strick caretaker of books. She does not write in the pages or dogear them. She never does anything to damage the spine, like fold it back and lay it flat on its open pages.
Her bottitude pretty much resides on the far side of my bottitude. My wife and I both love reading. We also enjoy spreading the word. Whether we enjoy a book or not, we like to pass books on to others and get their feedback. Sometimes we're seeking validation. We want them to agree with us, without our saying so, that the writing is beautiful and lyrical, or that the characters or plot were really something else.
Some of the books go to people we know based on what we know they enjoy. One group loves mysteries although some of them will read only police procedurals. Others are non-fiction readers, with subsets of people who read biographies, politics, memoirs and essays. There are sword and fantasty readers, adventure/thriller lovers, hard science fiction. That's also one of the joys of reading - and writing: learning what others like to read, and why.
All of our fellow readers loan us books. That's where I get a hitch in my giddy up. Passing a book on creates an obligation to read it, no matter how full your schedule might be or what other books are already in the piles waiting to be read. Some force books on me with the declaration that I will love it.
That annoys me. Do you really think you know me so well? Sometimes I'll challenge them, "How do you know that? What if I don't like it? Will you feel guilty for declaring that I'll love it, building my hopes up just to leave me disappointed?"
So I'm careful about passing books on to others. I don't want to be one of 'them'.
I passed The Dog Stars on to Sam after some careful thought. Sam, a barrista at my fav coffe shoppe, is a hungry, inveterate reader. Sam always has a couple books on him when I see him. So I asked him if he was interesting in reading The Dog Stars. He answered in the affirmative.
Now, the other part of lending books is getting them back. I'm pretty lenient in my lending. Take it, read it, you'll get it back to me when you get it back to me.
Not so my wife. She wants commitments. She wants the books back and not too long from now, thanks, and in good condition
Part of this is that trading books in is a large aspect of her reading and budgeting plans. It's also plays a major role in her recycling efforts.
See, she feels guilty about buying books but she loves books and she's not ready to go digital yet.
She hates wasting paper and would rather see books re-used - but she wants credit at our local used book stores so she can buy more books. Our favorite used book store is The Bookwagon.
The Dog Stars is 'her' book because she's the one that found it - used - and brought it home. It had been on both of our lists. Since it is 'her' book, I had to get permission to loan it to Sam.
"I don't know this person," she groused. Glowering at me, she added, "But I trust you. He won't keep it long, will he?"
"No, I'm sure he won't." I wasn't lying. I feel I know Sam well enough to reassure her of his intentions toward her book.
"And he'll take care of it?"
"Okay...but put a book marker with your name in it."
Our attitudes toward books pretty well captures our diverging views about money. My philosophy is, "You want the book, you buy the book." That's one of the best uses of money I can conceive.
But she always expresses guilt. "I've already spent so much money on books this week but I saw this and I just had to have it. I promise not to buy any more books this month."
We know she won't live up to that promise. Sometimes I'll gently tease her, just to see that look on her face shen she acknowledges that she is such a terrible person, always buying books.
As if a writer could ever chide a reader for buying books.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com