Trina Machacek: Dog-eared Days of Summer
I like books. Not all books. For instance I don’t like books that weigh more than a small child. Why would I want to struggle to hold onto something heavy enough to break my nose if it fell on my face while I was reading and fell asleep? So I’m more of a paperback reader. With a paperback you know you’re safe. You just know there’s no way an average 300-page paperback will have any more of a snowballs chance to survive an August day in Benson, Arizona, than to smash your nose when you fall asleep reading.
There are exceptions. Coffee table books. What’s a coffee table book? Well from my perspective they’re a grown up version of a toddler’s picture book. When you pick up, well wait a second. Coffee table books aren’t something that are usually picked up. They’re more often than not the size of a medium-sized dog and its weight can top out around the poundage of one of those huge boxes of candy a salesman will give to a doctor’s office staff at Christmas so he can rest assured he’ll be invited back throughout the next year to sell more of his medical miracles to the ever illusive doctor. All those words add up to: big and heavy!
With size and weight established it’s easy to see a coffee table book is designed to not be picked up off the coffee table, but to be somewhat occasionally perused and enjoyed while it remains a permanent fixture of the table where it sits. And sits. And sits. Just waiting to be dusted. But I have slid off the weekly waxed table.
As a grownup version of a kids picture book a coffee table book can take you anywhere in the world, or as a space picture book, nearly anywhere in the universe. Where else can you get that kind of entertainment for around 50 bucks? No, wait, please, I live in Nevada — don’t answer that one!
Where you read can lead to an interesting discussion too. In bed is so cliché. Who doesn’t read in bed where you read a page and then have to re-read the same page two or three times because you fell asleep and woke up to find the book hanging half on and half off the bed? Or it falls to the floor and you have to hunt for the page you were on because it flipped and flopped and closed up leaving you to re-read a page, or six, as you try to find where you were. But reading in bed usually does its job in it puts you to sleep.
Who reads sitting up? I can’t. It makes my neck hurt. I would like to be able to read sitting up, at a table, like the kitchen or dining room table. But it’s like reading that coffee table book in reverse. My head — not that I have an overly large or obnoxious head— my head gets too heavy for my neck to hold up and I occasionally fall forward and smooch my nose into the book I’m trying to devour.
OK so I’ll put this next reading room in just because I know there are those who read there. The bathroom. Here’s the thing about reading while otherwise occupied. You’re in there to be otherwise occupied. I mean there may be someone else who needs to occupy your reading room. So be considerate if you must read in there, speed read! The one good thing I can think of while occupying the water closet reading room is you shouldn’t fall asleep there.
Now let me just touch on the book mark industry verses the dog-earing of a page. If you can read a book in no more than let’s say three sittings then by all means dog-ear the page where you stop. That will cause maybe two or three pages to be dog-eared. But if you read 20 pages and stop then another 20 or 26 and stop, over and over again, please don’t dog-ear the pages. That will cause the book to have its corner size to exceed the maximum shelf space on the bookshelf because there’s no way to un-ear a dog-eared book back into that clean, sleek, smooth look. For goodness sakes spend a few shekels and buy a plastic coated book mark you like because it has a cute picture of an orangutan hanging from a tree in the jungle on it or a clever saying about the rightness of the sun or moon or sea or shore.
Wow all that just to get it off my chest I don’t enjoy reading a book the previous reader has dog-eared. I’m feeling so much better I think I’ll go outside, lie in the hammock, read a little and fall asleep.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org