Wonderful “Reading Life” essay on the well-read book as a thing of beauty:
Eventually, I finished this impressive volume. It went from being a new and unread book to one that was very evidently used and read. I left it lying around for a few days, enjoyed looking at the transformation it had undergone, struck by the mysterious transfusion of knowledge in which this object had played such an important — and historically tried-and-tested — role. The changes wrought upon the book were fairly discreet but, at the risk of projecting my own feelings of satisfaction at having made it to the end, I am tempted to say that it looked fulfilled. Like the youth in “The Red Badge of Courage” (bought Dec. 28, 1987, Cheltenham), it had, after an ignominious beginning (cowardice/remaindering), accomplished its purpose. Together, it and I earned a Read Badge of Shared Achievement.