You could say that I have a bad reputation for being a bit less pristine with my books. In my defense, I would like to point out that a broken spine and the occasional dog-eared page does NOT make me what some would call "a book abuser."
Of the bajillions of books on my shelf, there's only a few I would say are in "bad shape." So I thought I'd make a list of my...
Top 5 (but really only 4) - Most Abused Books
Possibly my most favorite abused book is Deb Caletti's THE STORY OF US because I took it to the beach in Key West and gave it a little suntan. Sand between its pages, a cover that crinkles up no matter how much I try to flatten it--this is not the worst damage. Oh no, I took a pen to this one. Deb has such incredible prose, I needed to underline and bracket whole passages. It was like a reading "OH YEAH!"
Next is my copy of Jeffrey Eugenides' MIDDLESEX, which I inherited from my mom. She dropped it in the bathtub, which made the book balloon out. You can see the wrinkles across the pages, and where the glue is giving away. Lots of loose pages! Which didn't help when I read it with the cover folded back.
I found Nicholas Sparks' AT FIRST SIGHT while BFF Kelly and I were walking around Manhattan one fine spring day. It was leaning up against a stoop, Rock the Drop style and I freaked! I have never found a book out and about. Someone loved it and wanted to share it with me! So what if it leans like the Leaning Tower of Pisa (I totally spelled that as Pizza before spellcheck--don't judge me!).
I saved the worst for last: My copy of Joan Lowery Nixon's THE OTHER SIDE OF DARK. I have owned this book since I was twelve. You can see how much it was loved: dumped into book bags, slid between car seats and shoved under beds by the cover wear (and missing corner on the lower right side). It's well-loved pages are not only dog-eared, but water damaged from being stored in a cardboard box in a damp basement. This gives it that mealy feel when you turn those pages. Plus, look at those ripples!