Do You Respect Books?

Respect for books

This post is inspired from some images that have been created by book enthusiasts to emphasize the importance of books.

Who can deny the role of books in our lives? But reading comes with book ethics, which have either deteriorated or are not inculcated these days.

We grew up with respect for books. We were told books acquaint us with the goddess of knowledge and we should be thankful that she chose to smile at us. She would stay with us only if we respect her pals. This belief was instilled from a very early age and books were no less than treasures for us.

In school, if a book or a notebook would fall down inadvertently, we would apologize by paying obeisance to it by touching it to our forehead three times. Such a respect for books could be linked to The Bible, Shree Bhagavad Gita, Guru Granth Sahib and The Holy Quran.

We were told that books could never be put on the floor, never under the bed or the couch.

We were told to treat books like sagacious friends who could guide and absorb all our emotions, friends who loved without demanding anything, who could fill our hours with delight, and were like a warm wrap around our shoulders.

We believed all this and learned to respect our books.

When I read, “a book is a window on the world,” I knew that I couldn’t sit on this window to watch the beauty but have to peep through it to discover the massive difference that exists within the societies and the people living in them.

DpY-Bt5UcAA5gjrI am sharing some deplorable pictures, which disrespect books. They have been shared on social sites but are distasteful. Who walks on books? What message are we passing on to kids?

Books may be ‘a doorway’ to another land but we can’t step on the door, we have to open it gently with our hands and enter that kingdom.

44077932_1880701278709277_4875350547445579776_nThis picture may be having some cute factor but I wonder who thought of photo shopping such a picture! I disliked it the moment I saw it yet I have put this image here to highlight my point.

And here is another!!



This image speaks volumes about the attitude of modern generation   towards books!


What do you say for this one?DrBw9AMWkAEzVUR Are you sure you would create such a library and step on it everyday ten times in a day? I may seem old-fashioned but there is nothing modern about placing books at your feet. These pictures seem to have been created but they pass on an egregious message.

I have picked up all these images from social sites and haven’t checked whom do they belong to. If they infringe the rights of somebody, please feel free to mention and I would remove them.

Do you respect books? Checklist:

  • Do you sit on them?
  • Do you put them on the floor?
  • Do you admire pictures that show both of above?
  • Do you fold the corners of pages as book marks?
  • Do you highlight the important points in books with a marker?
  • Do you borrow them and forget to return?

I am waiting for your reflections and please share this post at your favorite social networks to convey the message. Thank you.

Balroop Singh.


36 thoughts on “Do You Respect Books?

  1. I do agree about handling books with respect and see my books as friends. Many have given me courage
    and entertainment. I don’t sit much on the floor now but when I did I could be surrounded by books,
    They did get picked up later. Like a good friend a book can sit with you in most places. Cared for and loved.

    I quite love the photo of the girl sitting among books, totally absorbed. The bookcase in the staircase is an
    interesting solution for small houses. Not so practical though.

    No, I don’t fold pages, favourite books do instead end up with bookmarks from e.g. a torn pice from a newspaper, a napkin on the table, I have even found coasters. Should I duck for cover now 😊.


    1. I am delighted to hear that you treat books like friends and nobody treats a friend in a shabby manner. If a friend sits with you on the floor, he gets up the moment you do! Those who respect books pass on this value to others around them, without any emphasis on their words. I didn’t like that picture of the girl Miriam, as her feet are touching the books, which is taboo for my culture. I know cultural compulsions are stifling but not this one. 🙂

  2. Such an insightful post on respecting books, and one that we all need to read as the world is becoming more digital. Interesting to read some cultures apolpgise to books. Which wouldn’t surprise me since books are steeped on knowledge, taken months maybe even years to put together – books tell truth for some part. Growing up I had a bookshelf full of books and I put the books away on the shelf nicely when I finished reading them. These days, my books are scattered all over. Maybe time to get them organised 🙂

    1. I respect those cultural values that don’t harm us or rob us of our rights in any way and ‘respect for books’ is one of them. Books are not just for one person who has bought them, as they are shared and passed on to the next generation and can survive many more if they are treated well. A person is also known by the way he keeps his books and pictures. I have seen many people whose books are strewn around the house and even their pictures end up in drawers and all sorts of weird places! You are right Mabel, time to get organized and pass on this good habit to your loved ones around you. 🙂

      1. That is so true, books are shared and passed around and passed on. Maybe that’s why many of us feel a sense of shock and loss when we see pages of a book being torn out and you wonder who would do that (sometimes it’s this way with library books)… :/ Books are memories, stories and truths, meant to be treasured.

      2. Rightly said Mabel. Thank you for adding this point of insensitivity towards books. All depends on the generation that nurtures and passes on the book ethics to the younger generation. 🙂 Lets do whatever little we can.

  3. Growing up, I kept my Bible in my nightstand drawer. I remember my grandmother always told me to never put anything on top of Bible, so the drawer remained empty. In elementary school, we always had to make book covers to protects our textbooks. We’d use brown paper bags and personalize them with markers and pens. No, I never fold the corners of any books. I do use a highlighter while studying my writing craft books, though. Interesting post, Balroop!

    1. I am glad your grandmother reminded you to respect Bible and schools too nurtured respect for notebooks. We too covered our notebooks with brown paper and those who didn’t do so were scoffed at and reprimanded by teachers. All depends on how much of this value is passed on to the next generation. Thank you for sharing your love for books Jill.

  4. I like my books to be well-used. I’m sure I would shock you, Balroop. I mark them up so much, many I can’t even donate to the library. I love looking back at what caught my attention. Digital books–so wonderful because I can mark them up even more–and then erase!

  5. I love the cultural attitude toward books that you grew up with, Balroop, though I’m not upset by the images that you shared. I do leave my books everywhere (though I don’t step on them). I dog-ear them, spill on them, accidentally dip them in the bathtub. But I love them. The thing that I see in the images is children reading, and to me, that’s the most important part. Books are stepping stones to knowledge, the foundations of the future, and to be snuggled among them, lost in a story, is a gift. ❤

    1. Really? Not upset that somebody is walking on books and sitting with shoes on books? That is the whole point…nurturing the attitude of respect, which is not of any importance here. Slowly this value is being forgotten! I am glad digital books are taking over and nobody can leave them around carelessly. Sorry Diana, I feel so strongly about these images that I had to write a post!

  6. Balroop, first of all I’m touched by the love and respect of books you were taught at school, to apologise for dropping them. I’m always careful when handling them, with care, and if I see someone pushing the spine all the way back I want to scream!

    To me a life without books is unimaginable and I love them dearly. Since young a bible has been in my bedside drawer. Bookcases are found around the house, including on the landing, at times I will just pause by them, looking through the old friends. Having grown up in the Swedish way I do no understand how shoes can be worn inside, out on furniture, beds etc! I shake with disbelief and shock. However, the image of the staircase of books I really like, I can see it would take me ages to walk up … and what a sight to meet each tread, familiarising myself with them again.

    Overall, books face such steep competition from other forms of media that I think this campaign has at least grabbed so many people’s attention to their existence and maybe even encouraged new readers!

    Happy Reading! 📖

    1. Thank you for sharing your emotional attachment to books Annika, I feel this value is nurtured by parents or people around us who explain the importance of books at an impressionable age. I have seen many friends who don’t care about books but many more who have personal libraries they love more than any other material possessions.
      I can spend a whole day in a library or at Barns and Noble who encourage reading in their own unique manner. Whenever I visit, I admire the Children’s corner where kids are free to pick up any book and read whatever attracts their attention.
      Despite all the competition, books are here to stay. Thanks to book lovers and promoters. Love and hugs dear book lover. Stay blessed!

  7. I admire your respect for books, Balroop! I respect books as well, but perhaps am a little less careful. I’m a book lover since a young child. In all these years, I tend to purchase many second-hand books. I feel the worn pages as a sign of much love rather than disrespect. Even someone’s penciled in personal notes, I find quite touching. I have recently bought some antique books that I’ve been perusing (one is a short story collection and the other Rilke’s The Notebook of Malte Laurids Brigge). In each one are someone’s handwritten notes and thoughts on certain passages.

    In any case, I have never stood on a book and can’t imagine hurting a book in such a way. I tend to feel sorry for those books on the markdown table…as they have not found a home and may not ever find one. Maybe, if they’re lucky, they end up at the local library. At home, I do stack books in places where I’m likely to pick one up at a random moment and flip through. These are my hard cover books usually on art or design. So, yes, they are stacked don the floor but rest assured they are never mistreated. 🙂
    p.s. I do wonder if that image with the staircase is actually wall paper on the risers? I’ve seen book case wall paper and it’s quite realistic looking. Let’s hope they’re not real… 😛

    1. I must tell you that I was a tough mom who could never tolerate misuse of books and I have passed on this love to my girls and now can see the same. I was delighted to hear what my grand daughter had to teach me when she got her first library book home. She may turn the pages of her own story books roughly but told me how gently a library book should be handled and held. 🙂
      Even if that picture of staircase library is a wall paper, it is in bad taste.

  8. Interesting food for thought. I do believe books should be respected, but I’ll admit to dogearing and highlighting reference books. 🙂

  9. I love books and it’s true that some people don’t take good care of them. Thought they are trully precious.
    It’s nice to read people’s view on the subject Balroop.
    We do respect books different ways.
    Books are like friends to me, I’d highlight words that talk to me and even write sometimes on the side. I love when buying second-hand books to see what people were up to when reading them – it’s like sharing a secret!
    I don’t let them sit on the floor, But they definitely are everywhere around the house. Following me in my daily life.
    Have a lovely day!

    1. Love the way you treat your books Marie, having them all around the house shows how much we talk to them. Thanks for sharing your lovely view.

  10. Great post dear Balroop…. books should be much more respected, indeed.
    I still have my bookshelves in order (I decided to give away many books and just keep the ones that really mean something to me, in many ways, and according to different criteria). I tended to write notes and even highlight books, which could seem bad, but it was my way to leave my personal mark, you know, 😜 sending much love. Happy December 😘💕

    1. Thank you dear Aqui, it is a pleasure to hear from you. I agree with you, the books we no longer need could be helpful for others and must be donated. There are many people who don’t have an easy access to books and it is so kind to pass them on. Love and hugs. 🙂

  11. Old habits die hard. I remember one of the most luscious freedoms as a child was walking to the library By Myself! One of those library trips – probably with a grammar school class – was all about books, how to treat them, how to care for them. I’ve never forgotten it. I once believed it almost sacrilege to write anywhere inside a book, to underline or to – gasp – bend the corners of pages! Then I entered college, and Had to underline. Then I did radio interviews, and Had to write in margins – though I did this in pencil. Had to annotate in the front to remember during those conversations on what page a certain thought was expounded upon. Years later, I still see my margin notes and I’m glad I took them. They can always be erased 😉

    Funny this post appeared just after I took six good sized heavy boxes of books to the local library for donation. I just had too many, and in Hawaii, paper does not keep well. Too damp. It felt good to thin the heard again, and nice to retain books I can refer to again and again. The rest – mostly literature – I can either get in Kindle form or reorder secondhand. If I’m dying to read it again.

    Aloha, Balroop! You always do think of interesting topics. ❤

  12. It’s nice to hear that children are told about treating books well, as that is the only way to inculcate some respect for books. Whatever we learn at such an impressionable age gets entrenched in our minds till we see others and get influenced by them. It happens in dorms when students push their books under the bed due to lack of space or start writing on them but it seems shocking to a person like me who always kept a writing pad to write notes and kept the books shining and new. Would you believe I can never fold the book to read, which seems convenient to some.
    Kindle has solved many problems but students still have to take care of their everyday books and library books and therefore ethics need to be reinforced.
    Thank you for coming over to share your views Bela, much appreciated.

  13. I always treat my books with care. I’ve seen the book staircase before, in the context of tiny houses, and all I could think was, “Don’t they realize that dirt will get into the books?” I’m all for being clever with space, but that includes taking proper care of anything that I consider important enough to keep.

    1. I can never appreciate a book staircase as I can never imagine putting even bare feet near the books in my wildest dreams. I wonder how anyone could create such a staircase!
      Thank you for standing by to share your view Cathleen, much appreciated.

  14. I love books, Balroop. I only had second-hand books when I was a child but I treated these with great reverence. I even made a library with them with borrowing cards and the works. I don’t lend out books because other people don’t treat my beloved books nicely.

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