. Keeping Your Keeper Shelf Safe . By Sandy Novy-Chvostal . 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 whoâ€™s borrowed a book. A couple others make the borrower sign a little â€œcheck outâ€ card that they keep in a file. Our OCC Web Editor embosses â€œFrom the Library of Marianne Donleyâ€ on the title page and–â€œjust in case they tear the title page out and say itâ€™s theirs!â€–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 donâ€™t like to fool around. Instead, I go right for the big guns. . I rely on magic. Specifically, book curses.
I was copying down an especially effective curse recently, when my husband asked, â€œWhatâ€™s that?â€ . 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. . â€œItâ€™s a curse, â€œ I told him. â€œFrom the Medieval monks. Iâ€™m going to put it on signs and hang it above my Keeper Shelves.â€
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, â€œYouâ€™re going to hang that over all the bookshelves in the house.â€ . â€œNot all of them. Iâ€™m only putting it over my romance and young adult novels, my books on writing, and my children and Christmas book collections.â€ I thought about it a second, then added, â€œI donâ€™t think my cook books need it.â€
â€œNeither do I. Judging by your cooking, those come with curses already included.â€ . He winced as my elbow hit his ribs, but instead of taking the hint and moving on, he said, â€œBut doesnâ€™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–â€ He winced again. â€œ–all over the house?â€
â€œNo.â€ . â€œSo are you planning to write it in blood?â€ . â€œNo,â€ I said regretfully. â€œJust red ink. But dark red–so it looks like blood.â€ . He shook his head. â€œBut theyâ€™re only books.â€ . â€œTheyâ€™re my favorites and some are out of print. I donâ€™t want to lose any.â€ . â€œSo you turn to threats and intimidation?â€ He arched his other brow (heâ€™s am-brow-dexterous, you know) and added chidingly, â€œI thought you were big on sharing.â€ . â€œI am. Just not my books.â€ . â€œWell, I think youâ€™d want to share something you care about the most with your friends.â€ . â€œYou do, huh?â€ . â€œYeah. The more you care, the more you should share.â€ (My husband; the poet.) . â€œFine.â€ I started to get up from my chair. â€œIâ€™m glad to hear it. Cuz Jerry across the street asked to borrow your drill the other day, and I couldnâ€™t get the second padlock off your tool box so–â€ . Like magic my husband disappeared. . I returned to my curse copying feeling satisfied, and yes, even benevolent. . Because although I hate to lend out my books, Iâ€™m eager to swap notes about them here on OCCâ€™s Keeper Shelf in the coming months, along with my book-loving friends. . . 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.”