Spring Cleaning

Goldilocks and The Umbrella Man

Over the last weekend, I spring cleaned my book cabinet. 

Since childhood, I have had many books gifted to and bought for me, and I still hoard many of these books today. As I comb through the books, I realise that my favourite books are damaged, either due to the test of time, or by my own hands… 

The books that I’m about to share with you have damages that I don’t even remember of. It’s a surprise when I flip through them, but the little marks and stains are like battle scars; it tells me of the use and the love that I’ve given the book over the years.


The Goldilocks’ book illustration I've had since childhood has beautiful cross hatching, it adds so much to the texture of the bears’ fur that I’m still slightly afraid of the realistically drawn bears in clothes… there’s also something particularly haunting about the three bears staring at Goldilocks as she sleeps in little bear’s bed. 

This book has been flipped so incessantly that the thread binding it together has become slightly loose, the pages folded and crumpled (very telling of how I must have been so intrigued by it as a child). I wonder if it had also been drenched with water, as the pages are slightly warped, but I guess I’ll never know.    

I wonder if 5-year-old me could explain what happened to her book without getting upset about it (laughs).

The Umbrella Man and other stories

I remember picking out this Roald Dahl short story collection at Kovan’s Popular book store, at the ripe old age of 10. I remember obsessively looking through the bent spines and torn covers to find the most perfect one. This book cover tore rather easily because of the material, and even though I knew it would be in tatters someday, I was convinced that I would be able to maintain it in pristine condition… 

Now, the cover is smooth and soft like how I remember it to be, just that it is bruised and bent, some of the print has cracked off, and its pages are foxed. There’s this huge watermark on one of the pages. I remember being SO UPSET when it was wet. 

An interesting imperfection I found was an ink blot on one of the pages, possibly leaked from the printer! I have never seen another book with one, so I feel that it’s slightly more unique with this small ink spot. I wonder what happened to that printer… Did it combust into flames after printing? Did it leak on any other page? It gives me clues to what the printing process was like.

All this is particularly difficult to see, since I’m one of those people at the bookshop who look through the entire stock on display for the most pristine copy. No folds, no bents, no tiny tears are tolerated. But I have to say, I’ve gotten more acclimated to less than perfect books over the years. It really helps that I enjoy the book so much that I am able to overlook its imperfections. I really treasure these books I've shared with you, with all the battle scars they have.


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