Four Books that Are Falling Apart at the Seams

These are the books that I’ve had with me and that I have loved enough to cause them to lose their spines or covers or pages. They are not pretty, but they are loved.

  1. Watership Down by Richard Adams
    What’s the damage?
    Spine intact, but those covers are hanging on by the skin of their teeth.
    Why this book?
    I first heard of this book because the mother of my childhood best friend was reading it to her. As kids, my friend and I often pretended to be different animals, so Fiver and Pipkin were perfect fodder for our play. Eventually both our parents let us watch the movie, and then my own mom handed me the book to read on my own.
    I was still too small at the time to fully understand all that was happening in the complex tale, but knowing the movie helped and the stories of El-ahrairah really brought me through to the end.
    Once I matured and reread the book, I became astounded and absolutely engrossed in the character development, the foreshadowing, the Lapine culture, and that Adams taught us enough of the language to the point where Bigwig can snarl a gorgeous insult at General Woundwort in Lapine without any translation. I took it on a number of camping trips, which likely contributed to its condition, but there’s really nothing like reading about Hazel & Co. while sitting on a quiet lakes edge in the early morning with mosquitoes hunting you down like the Thousand elil.
  2. The Flood by William C. Deitz
    What’s the damage?
    Spine is cracked so that there are certain pages the book just falls open to. Cover and pages bent and fading.
    Why this book?
    This was my introduction to the franchise that would claim my heart and solidify my transference from a primarily-fantasy reader to a primarily-science fiction reader. The mystery of the Halo ring, the visceral writing style, and the characters of Yayap and Mckay.
    I wrote a whole piece (multiple pieces, really) on it for my tumblr blog, with this in particular to say:

Halo is known stereotypically as a “dudebro” franchise; and the idea of “dudebro” franchises generally means that it’s unwelcoming to the ladies. After all, what’s more manly than a manly man in manly armor with a manly gravelly voice shooting up aliens (in a manly fashion)? You don’t want the chicks to pop in and screw it up with their drama and romance. (yes, a very shallow view of john, halo, men, and women, but that’s what it can look like when you’re peeking in from the outside and interacting with certain people. !stereotypes! *jazz hands*)

Furthermore, science fiction in general has a general lack of powerful ladies as viewpoint characters. I had always loved science fiction, but they were all men’s stories. Transformers film had Mikaela, but she never got to do that much beyond looking pretty. The Matrix had Trinity, the Oracle, and the other lady, but one of them died and the other two felt mainly used to reaffirm Neo’s destiny. Even Asimov’s robot stories, of which I was very fond, was Susan Calvin as the odd-one-out in a man’s world. As I never related very much to Dr. Calvin, I never really emotionally connected to the stories. Star Wars, with Padme and Leia and all those background ladies, was the closest I got to self-immersion.

Then I read The Flood. Right off the bat, I was introduced to Cortana, Flight Captain Carol Rawley (Foehammer), and Lt. Melissa McKay, all three of which were major players and viewpoint characters throughout the book. And they weren’t alone – Keyes’ bridge crew consisted of Ensign Ellen Dowski and Lt. Aki Hikowa, and the Chief Engineer was Gail Purdy, and countless smaller roles scattered throughout.

In fact, my first self-insertion fantasies about Halo all those years back revolved very much around Rawley and McKay being my mentors. It was because of them (McKay in particular) that I began connecting to the Master Chief and the Halo series as a whole.

Background and foreground characters. Being a woman was normal, not an exception, here in the UNSC military, and they ranged towards all personalities and ranks. There were no sexist remarks regarding them, no special treatment, no need to prove their worth. They were equals. And with this inclusion of women playing major parts, winning major victories, or causing major defeats, I was told that I women were important here.

I was told that I was welcome here.

  1. The Bible
    What’s the damage?
    What isn’t the damage? This little fellow was my first copy of a full Bible, and not just a collection of Bible stories for kids, yet my parents got it for me when I was still young. So there’s odd drawings in the front, markers used in replace of highlighters and strange highlightings throughout. The faux leather is peeling and the entire book remains bound together by the handyman’s secret weapon, duct tape.
    Why this book?
    Well the obvious answer is my faith, and it’s still a correct answer. There’s so much hope and understanding to be pulled from these pages. Sure there are some parts that I struggle to understand, but really it tells me so much about God.
    It also has some fantastic stories. Like David’s mighty men charging through a garrison to get their king and friend a drink from his hometown well! And the different writers of this book knew how to turn a phrase. “Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord…” is one of my absolute favorites – such great imagery there!
  2. National Geographic Dinosaurs
    What’s the damage?
    I have never seen a more destroyed spine in my entire life. And you can kiss that jacket cover goodbye.
    Why this book?
    Jurassic Park (another book with a spine that’s getting close to despair) ruined me. It gave me a ten-year obsession with raptors. I mean just look at them! Feathered or leathery, they are just beautiful predators! And don’t get me started on the recent(-ish) discovery of Balaur Bondoc! Anyways, I was addicted to dinosaurs and this book fueled it so well. It gave me a source to prove that Brontosaurus was in fact not an actual dinosaur (Though that debate has apparently been reopened). It also made me begin to question current scientific theories in middle school. Like why are Dromeosaurids considered Saurischians when their pubic bone it turned backwards like an Ornithiscian? I still don’t have the answer to that one.
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1 Response to Four Books that Are Falling Apart at the Seams

  1. I had to go and learn how to repair books after my copy of Fall of Reach fell apart. So I sympathise.


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