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Keeper Shelf

March 15, 2007 by in category Blogs tagged as with 5 and 0
Home > Writing > Blogs > Keeper Shelf

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Keeping Your Keeper Shelf Safe
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By Sandy Novy-Chvostal
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When it comes to keeping their Keeper Shelves intact, my friends employ a variety of methods. A few, like Barbara Benedict, simply rely on their excellent memories to remember who’s borrowed a book. A couple others make the borrower sign a little “check out” card that they keep in a file. Our OCC Web Editor embosses “From the Library of Marianne Donley” on the title page and–“just in case they tear the title page out and say it’s theirs!”–also stamps page 54 as a back-up embossing.

But although I appreciate the sentiment behind these quaint little customs, when it comes to keeping my own Keepers safe, I don’t like to fool around. Instead, I go right for the big guns.
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I rely on magic. Specifically, book curses.

I was copying down an especially effective curse recently, when my husband asked, “What’s that?”
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I glanced up to find him reading over my shoulder–apparently his favorite position for reading, he does it so often. His eyes were narrowed in a slight frown as he studied what I was writing.
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“It’s a curse, “ I told him. “From the Medieval monks. I’m going to put it on signs and hang it above my Keeper Shelves.”

He glanced at me, stared at the page, then looked at me again. He lifted a brow–(yeah, he can really do that; just like my favorite romance novel heroes). He said in a flat tone, “You’re going to hang that over all the bookshelves in the house.”
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“Not all of them. I’m only putting it over my romance and young adult novels, my books on writing, and my children and Christmas book collections.” I thought about it a second, then added, “I don’t think my cook books need it.”

“Neither do I. Judging by your cooking, those come with curses already included.”
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He winced as my elbow hit his ribs, but instead of taking the hint and moving on, he said, “But doesn’t it seem kind of extreme to put–For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not, this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members blasted–” He winced again. “–all over the house?”

“No.”
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“So are you planning to write it in blood?”
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“No,” I said regretfully. “Just red ink. But dark red–so it looks like blood.”
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He shook his head. “But they’re only books.”
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“They’re my favorites and some are out of print. I don’t want to lose any.”
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“So you turn to threats and intimidation?” He arched his other brow (he’s am-brow-dexterous, you know) and added chidingly, “I thought you were big on sharing.”
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“I am. Just not my books.”
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“Well, I think you’d want to share something you care about the most with your friends.”
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“You do, huh?”
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“Yeah. The more you care, the more you should share.” (My husband; the poet.)
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“Fine.” I started to get up from my chair. “I’m glad to hear it. Cuz Jerry across the street asked to borrow your drill the other day, and I couldn’t get the second padlock off your tool box so–”
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Like magic my husband disappeared.
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I returned to my curse copying feeling satisfied, and yes, even benevolent.
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Because although I hate to lend out my books, I’m eager to swap notes about them here on OCC’s Keeper Shelf in the coming months, along with my book-loving friends.
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Sandy Novy-Chvostal (aka Sandra Paul) has a degree in journalism, but prefers to write from the heart. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have three children, three cats, and one overgrown “puppy.” Romantic Times has labeled Sandra Paul’s work as “outrageously funny and surprisingly perceptive” while Rendezvous stated “Sandra Paul is imagination with wings.”

5 Comments

  • Anonymous
    on March 22, 2007

    Sandy,

    I loved this! You are so funny!

    I hate to admit that I rarely loan my favorites, not even to my mother.

  • Anonymous
    on March 17, 2007

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Anonymous
    on March 17, 2007

    I’m with Mary- the only books I lend out are to my mom– and I know where she lives!
    Alyson

  • Anonymous
    on March 16, 2007

    I hide my keepers. My prized copy of Diary of a Blues Goddess was stolen and two years later, I stole it back! I’d rather support my favorite authors by buying my friends a copy of the book.

    Love,
    Mary

  • Anonymous
    on March 15, 2007

    Sandy, I LOVE that curse!!! I need it here, too. Boom Shaka Laka!! Of course, I refuse to perform the curse ritual Skyclad– nobody needs that………

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