Baked Books

There was once a fine tradition (which, for all I know, may be ongoing) of putting library books in the oven before reading them, in order to kill off the germs. Whether or not it worked is beside the point. What I liked about this process was the fact that I, as a reader, got to experience the pleasure of a hot book in my hands.

I recall my mother taking such a book out of the oven and passing it along to me as if it were a slice of baked apple pie. Some readers would have waited for the book to cool down, but I was no such reader. I liked to get going whilst the book was still steaming. It seemed to me like a glorious way to start a book. Even now I miss that feeling; of cradling a baking book in my grubby paws, turning the first few scalding pages, and of sensing the temperature lower as I eased my way into the narrative. How I miss those baked books days.

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