In 9th grade, my teacher taught me never to read without a pen in my hand, a lesson that stuck for life. In college, a boyfriend taught me to write my name, the date, and the city where I live inside the front cover. I always do.
So rereading old books is often like visiting a past time: there is my 16 year-old handwriting in the margin, a note to a friend in the back cover, threads of a motif, scribbling reflections, notes for teaching, assignment ideas etc. And then, of course, there is the text, itself.
Needless to say, books are something I tend to hold on to. There are two towering book cases in Silas and Eden's room (the room that, pre-children, housed the library/office and still has library lingerings because there simply is no other space for those shelves). The books are organized by color (except the bottom two shelves which are lucky to have any books on them at all -- Silas and Eden's bookshelves), and I love the small sense of order and aesthetic pleasure they offer.
The problem, however, now lies in the fact that Eden's crib is wedged between the light switch at the door frame and the bookshelves, so not only does she flick the light on and off at night, but she uses incredible go-go-gadget arms to reach novels that I've scooted to the far side of the shelf and rips them to bits when she wakes up from nap. Today, I walked in to find Ender's Game and Great Expectations in her crib with the covers ripped off and various pages torn to shreds, if not nibbled. She looked right up at my face as I walked in and with bright smiling eyes of satisfaction said, "book!"
So as of today, Great Expectations, Ender's Game, Pride and Prejudice, and Edith Hamilton's Mythology have all fallen prey -- she certainly has good taste...