Why You Should Read Romance Novels and Ways to Take Care of Old Used Books
They say you always remember your first. But if you're a rookie when it comes to the romance genre, knowing how to get started reading romance novels and making the best out of them. Not only does romance novels have a long and rich history, it's also extremely prolific. So, before you dive into reading romance novels, this list can help you build a solid foundation. We have also covered ways to take care of old used books.
Why read romance novels
Romance novels prioritize a main character’s well-being, desires, passions, and joys as they seek out love. You might know that romances are known for their “happily ever after” (or as fans of romance put it, HEA) endings. It’s an immense comfort, especially when things are difficult in real life, to know that a main character’s needs will be met. This is what I’ve gotten out of that HEA: the promise that we all deserve romantic companionship, that finding love is possible, desirable, and life-altering. Why should we pretend any of these things aren’t true, or that we don’t want them?
The protagonists of romance novels are largely women — and in a broader entertainment landscape that, until fairly recently, was largely focused on male protagonists, it’s meaningful to dive into worlds where women’s desires are taken seriously. In romance novels, the process of falling in love involves a lot of introspection: Protagonists figure out what they need from a partner on an intimate level, but they also have to consider how a partner fits into their life. This includes taking careers into account, as well as the cities where they live, and their friends and family. In romance novels, “the search for contentment and happiness is given a lot of importance and weight,” says Leah Koch, co-owner of The Ripped Bodice, that very same romance bookstore in Los Angeles.
Romance is an incredibly fun genre, and reading about people falling in love is a joy. Through reading romance, I’ve swooned over people falling in love in tropical destinations, small cozy towns, pirate ships, floating houses, or even while stuck in an elevator. There are tropes and themes for any reader: I’ve read a queer historical romance starring a printing-press owner and a beekeeper; a contemporary novel about an autistic woman falling in love with an escort; a version of The Bachelor where the star is plus-sized; one about a PhD candidate getting an actual non-spam email from the prince of a fictional African country; and a series of Indian American Jane Austen retellings. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Romance is rapidly evolving to fit a wide variety of increasingly specific audiences. Some of my favorite contemporary romances explore how hard it is to form meaningful relationships in the dating-app age, and what it means to find love despite a busy career. Others make space for their characters to work through intergenerational trauma, prior abuse, or navigating mental illness. Even historical romances — where marriage is more explicitly tied to a woman’s livelihood — have explored topics like suffrage and academic pursuits. Knowing the protagonist will find support through these events is an immense well of stability and comfort for readers.
“One of the things that’s really evolved in romance over the past two to three decades is what happily-ever-after looks like,” Koch tells Polygon. “It used to be marriage and a baby. Now, I think it’s more literal: You just have to be happy. That could be deciding to get a dog together, or moving in, or oftentimes, it’s just the verbalization of commitment. Sometimes, it’s a different commitment, because you have romances with ethically non-monogamous couples, and they’re going to be together, but also going to date other people. It’s become so much more expansive.”
Old Used Books
Buying second hand books is one thing; taking care of old used novels is something else. Here are a few of the ways to take care of old used books.
How to take care of old used books
Store old used books safely
Taking care of any type of books, especially old used books is the same except for exceptions like leather books. The following are a few of the ways in which you can safely store your old used books.
Keep your used books clean and dust free
Dust is something that we as humans avoid which is just the case when it comes to proper ways of taking care of old used books. Imagine dressed in a sharply cut suit, then picking up an old book from the shelves just to find dust all over your palm. The dust may eventually cause you to start sneezing, which is not a good feeling. Just keep dusting them regularly.
Keep used books away from direct sunlight
Ultra violet rays emitted by the sun cause a chemical reaction on a paper. It is said that most fluorescent bulbs leak ultraviolet rays which have the same effect even though they are weaker. Sunlight also fades bindings and dust jackets. Store your books away from direct sunlight or use incandescent bulbs which are not directly facing your books.
Shelve and store old books the right way
It is recommended that you shelve old used books in that they are standing upright, not leaning on the shelf. Do not keep the books too tight to each other or too loosely shelved. Tall books should be shelved with tall books. Stark similar-sized old used books together. When removing an old used book from the shelf, push the books on either side of it in, and remove the book by the middle of the spine. Do not just pull it from the top of the spine. Never store books with their spines facing up, or the fore edge facing up. In the former case, you’re putting strain on the binding that can cause the text block to separate from the cover, and in the latter case, you will cause the spine to become cocked or slanted.
Treat old used leather books differently
Whether you are a store keeper or just like keeping your books neat, you might consider to give leather books a special treatment. If your leather books appear to be drying out due to high temperatures or humidity, this is a sign that they have already started wearing out. You need to do something. It is advisable that you do hydrate your leather book about once in a year. Do not use myler jackets to cover your leather book.
They are not ideal for leather books; they are best for modern first editions with special paper dust jackets. This is because leather needs to breath but myler jackets can trap moisture between the leather and cause the leather book to rot. There are different products that can be used to treat your leather books. These include leather conditioners. Cellugel is one product that helps with more severe deterioration. Use your bare hands to handle leather books. We may occasionally see others handling them with white gloves.
It is of course recommended that you handle leather books with clean hands, but the oils from your hands are far from hurting your leather books. To clean a leather book, dust the book thoroughly using either a vacuum with brush attachment or a soft toothbrush. Use either a vacuum’s brush attachment or a soft toothbrush to gently remove dust and particles from the book. Wipe the leather panels with a soft cotton or microfiber dusting cloth.
Dress your old books
Books need to be dressed too! Only in the right way. Myler jackets are one of the to recommended book covers which are also cheap. A book with a dust jacket should always be protected by a clear quality myler jacket. Myler prevents the jacket from being torn, scratched or from the oils from our hands, though the oils are not of much harm.
If you are one who cares about the environment, old maps and paper bags can also be a great way for covering old used books. There is an article that gives you a good guide on how you will use such things to cover a book.
Claim ownership without writing in the books
Writing your name in an old book you bought a few years ago might not be a good habit when it comes to keeping books. It may apply to kids back in school where each may be owning the same book. Right now, imagine finding something like “Tom owned this book” while reading your favorite novel. Yes there is no problem in that but where is the need. Say you also write there your name and lend it to your friend who also writes his name in there and goes to sell the book to a local second-hand books’ vendor. The next person who will buy that old second-hand book might not love it.
Just keep your books unmarked except for the things you do when actively reading. You can write your name if you know you are going to be the owner of the old used books for the rest of your life or if it will only circulate among your family members, friends and relatives. Not in the hopes of appearing on a shelf somewhere down the street. Just treat the book as your own, with the love and care you give to a small child. Thus, you will have knowledge that can be shared to you grandchild, if not great grandchild. In a case where you fell like your book is valuable and you are worried that it might get stolen, write your name or whatever mark of ownership you would like on the back of the title page with a pencil.
Handle old used books with care
Hold the book by both hands, or cradle it in your lap while reading. If it’s a paperback, don’t fold the cover back upon itself. Turn the pages carefully by avoiding wrinkling the paper when doing so, if not, the edges of the pages will start folding at angles, which reduces the books lifespan. Try to keep food and drinks away from books. This does not mean that you should not take a cup of coffee when reading your favorite book. Just take good care that it does not spill.
When you’ve finished reading an old used book, make sure any book marks have been removed from the book. Avoid opening the book widely because this can damage the books spine. Just open as wide as it is necessary. Avoid repairing book pages with glue or tape, and don't treat leather bindings with oil. If your book needs repair, consult a professional before trying to fix the problem yourself.