You own a book that has been signed by the author. Do you allow yourself to read it or do you keep it on a shelf somewhere not to be touched by human hands?
Why do I ask? Well, I suppose I would consider myself a bibliophile, but I have my specifications. That is, I love books, but I don’t love all books. I love the books that I love, and that’s that. I enjoy the writings of certain authors in certain genres and pretty much keep my focus there. There are other genres that, consequently, I simply have no interest in, and haven’t read (nor plan to read) anything therein. For example, I have no penchant for reading most non-fictional works. I don’t care about basket weaving, crochet, American History, guns, or works on the sociopolitical climate of the Middle East or Latin America. With regard to fiction, I have a higher tolerance, although I don’t read romance, most works with gender or race undertones or allegories, or anything, you know, boring.
Like anyone, I have my own area of interest. That’s not to say I don’t know a certain author’s name from one of those genres I find undesirable. I mean, names like David McCullough, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Stephanie Meyer (etc.) pop up all the time and I recognize them. They are, after all, big names.
The genre I’ve personally grown up with and enjoyed immensely (and still do) is fantasy. I’m not ashamed to admit that; it’s one of those genres (like sci-fi, horror, paranormal…) that people associate with geeks, nerds, and whatever other monikers our society gives to those commonly introverted, and technologically-involved people. That’s another topic. What I bring up here is this – if you really enjoy an author’s work, and you possess a copy of one of those works, do you still read that copy? Or, do you consider it having now a ‘collector’s-item’ value and stash it away somewhere to sit-UBU-sit-good dog?
The reason I ask is that I’ve come to collect certain books from authors I enjoy and have considered cracking those books (those ones that contain the author’s signature) and reading them. Yet every time I have those thoughts, a voice inside grips me by the collar and screams, “NO! You can’t! It’s sacrilege!” And I tend to agree with that voice. If I have a copy of a book that an author wrote with the author’s signature on it, it’s now much more valuable. It’s sort of like if Paul McCartney signed your copy of Abbey Road. Would you still put that disc in your car’s cd player?
As time rolls on, the world comes up with more and more ways to bring the electronic reader into our lives. Don’t get me wrong, there are many benefits to reading the ‘e-way’, one of those being that you, my dear friend, can read this blog at your leisure. But with every pair of eyes that reads something on a screen, there is one pair fewer reading words on the corporeal page, and it’s just not the same when someone signs his/her name all over your Nook or Kindle. Possessing an autographed book is one of those beautiful pastimes we can still enjoy, and who knows how prevalent that will be in the years to come.
Some of you may respond with something like, “Well, it depends on how big the author is,” or “If it’s an author from a genre I don’t read, it’s not that big of a deal.” There’s no right answer. Some of you will agree with this and others (like my wife) will likely roll her eyes and think, that’s stupid. And I respect your opinion either way. I’m just looking to get some answers. What do you think?