Books as a harem
Books as toys
"I like to play with my books, to mark them up, to give them a lived-in look," Joe Queenan writes in One for the Books. "I like to stack them up on the shelf and move them about and rearrange them according to new parameters -- height, color, thickness, provenance, publishers, author's nationality, subject matter, likelihood that I will ever read them. Then I put them back the way they were." I may not play with my books in the same way Queenan does, but still I know what he is talking about. Reading books are not the only way in which they give pleasure.
Books as sacred objects
Books as friends and lovers
"A person's relationship with books does not remain static throughout his life," Queenan writes. A relationship? With a book? Well, yes. I can recall writing a couplet in college that went something like this: "My friend, the book/Holds my hand on cold nights." Not all readers are lonely introverts, but many are, and to them favorite books can be viewed as friends and/or lovers with whom one holds conversations.
Because of the relationship one forms with books, they can be hard to part with. But Queenan also observes, "Sometimes even the most loyal reader may feel a need to part company with a writer he once admired greatly. It is almost as if one is picking a fight, looking for an excuse to bit an old lover goodbye."