03/09/2011 02:48 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Confessions Of A Book Slob

Can you be a devoted reader and not care much about books as objects?

Lifehacker recently pointed to a post at Apartment Therapy from last year that offers five tips on caring for books, an earnest list of advice that runs from the patently sensible (“Don’t store books too close to a heater, in direct sunlight or in damp places where they could become mildewed”) to the fastidious (“To condition the spine…”). If you own valuable books, or simply prize your collection of paperbacks, the list is worth a look. I write if, because I realize that sometime in the past few years, I’ve gone from someone who cared for his shelves—organizing books by author and theme (if never alphabetically) and standing back from the clean rows with arms crossed in satisfaction—to an inattentive owner, as likely to re-shelve a book where it belongs, or even to find it a shelf, as I am to attend to other optional matters of household hygiene.