Saturday, 4 January 2014

Should you ever defile a book?

Because of the present economic situation, The Englishman and I had decided on a giving each other just small Christmas gifts this year. So when I saw a package looking like a thick book, I was thrilled. When I opened the wrapping paper, this is what was inside.

I have to admit that I'm more of a Doris Lessing girl than Marian Keyes one, but I read everything and have nothing against the writer. Perhaps the Englishman wants me to read real romance novels for a change, I thought. But looking at the book, it looked a bit battered, with a ripped jacket. Plus there was a Tesco's price tag on the front.

'Thank you, darling,' I said, knowing I couldn't hide the disappointment in my voice.

He smiled across the coffee table at me and said, 'My pleasure.'

We were not alone, but surrounded by family, so I couldn't really ask him what on earth he'd been thinking getting me what obviously looked a bargain basement book from Tesco's. Instead I tried to feign real interest in the novel by beginning to leaf through the pages. And this is what I found inside.

On opening the jewellery box, there was a lovely pair of pearl earrings inside. 'I can't believe you!' I said and went to kiss the old husband. But I couldn't stop looking at the cut up book. I kept thinking how I'd feel if one of the recently published copies of The Englishman would end up like that, cut up to hide a seemingly more precious gift?

'You just cannot do that!' I said jokingly, but really meaning it. I felt just absolutely awful.

'You should have realised I'd never buy you a book that still had a price sticker on, but don't worry I put it there; I didn't pay ten pounds for it!' the Englishman said.

I love my pearl earrings but I've told him that's the last time he's cutting up any book, by any author. In my book (see what I did there?) that's just not on.

What do you think? Do you feel the same as me?


Kandy Newton said...

What a lovely idea to hide a gift! I must admit, when I first looked at the photo I thought "he could have at least taken the price tag off!" but no, I don't think have a problem with cutting up 'cheap' books (I've never actually done it myself though. It's only a few bits of printed paper really, the original manuscript is a precious thing (especially to the Author), but surely not the thousands or even millions of reproductions out in the world. Just my humble opinion anyway.

Jane Hanbury said...

I have to agree with you Helena. It was a nice gesture and I can see why he wrapped his 'real' gift in that way. I would have mixed feelings like you though. Books are too precious :)

Helena Halme said...

Kandy, you make a good point, the original manuscript is still intact!

Jane, 'mixed feelings' is a good way of putting how I felt!

Amy said...

I'd like to think Marian would appreciate the romantic gesture.

If it helps my husband bought me a ladle...

Helena Halme said...

Amy, Surely it was a diamond encrusted ladle?