I do not have a romantic relationship with books.
I don't fangirl over the musty smell of old book shops. I don't experience a thrilling frisson when I run my finger over the spines in a library. I don't freak out over keeping books immaculate; in fact, some of my favourites, especially from childhood, are a perfect example of why, e.g., eating oranges while reading is never a good idea. I have no problem with lending, or have a vastly complicated cataloging system (the books on my shelves can be roughly divided into: New Loved Ones, Old Loved Ones, Small Ones, New Academic, Old Academic, Pratchett and Library).
There is one area, however, where my love for the book extends beyond the written word and its font.
I like to wonder about the people who left all the charming notes and mysterious symbols in my library books. Person Nr 1, as seen in Goodbye, Columbus (also spotted before in Portnoy's Complaint), has a tendency to underline phrases, go check their meaning and mark them after, for some reason, with "v" or "x". Person Nr 2 was probably doing a paper on Classic philosophers - he/she left notes deciphering the connections between Socrates, Plato and Aristoteles in Magee's awesome anthology. Students? Probably. Male or female? Also, did they like what they were reading? Where did they read? Do I know them?
Those who pique my curiosity the most, however, are the ones who mark sentences like But there's still space for authenticity, namely, doing the sort of thing that one does in a way that allows a response to the unique situation without concern for respectability and conformity. That kind of life, not trying to get absolute meaning, and responding to the current situation, makes you an individual and no longer zombie-like. Heidegger says it makes you flexible, alive, joyous. That is his idea of how one should live* (tl;dr: smth long and complicated) with a star. Who was it? Was it somebody seeking confirmation for their beliefs, or somebody struck with an epiphany? What happened in their life that made those particular words stand out for them
In case you were wondering, I always do this. I go to court and wonder who were the parents of this person who is today on trial for beating somebody up. I stare at Almodovar-esque women in the street, only because they look like they've lived through so much.
I have am fascinated by the darker, psychological aspect of humanity.
Anyway, the buggers conveniently never sign their names somewhere on the margins, so I guess we'll Never Know.
*All copyright goes to Bryan Magee, The Great Philosophers, London 1987, BBC Books; quoting p.268