Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Rigid and faded, they stand the test of time. For decades they shunt from box to shelf to box to shelf, never read but always hanging onto those sepia pages. Sometimes they are taken out and looked at, but always they are put back again. Until I come along.

I, killer of aged paperbacks.

A fresh kill: a fifty year old Bantam issue of THE LENIENT BEAST by Fredric Brown. The spine tells me its history: if it has ever been read before it was decades ago, and very carefully. I turn the pages, sucking the life out of them. The spine starts weakening. Halfway through and the pages are hanging on for dear life, little adhesive fingers too dry to grip for long.

No one will read them after me. Sad in a way, to reach the end of the line after so long. Should I leave them alone... untouched, unread and intact for another fifty years of shelf life? No, I make them live again. One last hurrah before decomposition. I am not the killer of aged paperbacks, I am their saviour.

What? Books are inanimate objects?

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