I’ve recently read a very awesome book by Henry Petroski called “The Book on the Bookshelf”. It’s a book about the culture of storing an collecting books. In it he mentioned a dinner party that he attended, where owners of a pretty big library served appetizers on Taschen art books (probably purchased for a buck or so). But many of the guests did not feel right about using book pages (no matter that they carried no value) in this manner. Even though it’s probably a cooler way to use these books than letting them mold in a used book pile somewhere.
Petroski also mentioned some readers who would tear pages out of cheap paperbacks as they were reading in order to lighten their bags.
I feel, that eating over a book (unless it’s a rare edition) is ok. In fact, I don’t really care if any of the ordinary books in my library have dog ears, food stains or water damage as long as they are still readable. I have no qualms even about throwing out crappy books. But still would refuse to use a book as a plate.
Now, here’s a project I have mixed feelings about: some ljusers wallpapered their library with book pages. It looks very cool. It will probably look like ass later, when acidic paper will start to completely deteriorate in sunlight. It’s somewhat cool. Maybe even a bit creative. I’ve seen this done with old newspapers in the Le Figaro cafe in the Village though. But still, something ain’t right about that.