Do NOT touch my books: a bookworm pet peeve

Good morning, good afternoon, hello friends, how are you in this lovely Sunday? I hope you had a wonderful week filled with love and all the books. I really don’t want to talk about mine so I’ll just head into today’s subject… it’s time for another bookish discussion! Warning: this one will be full of feelings.

I don’t know if it’s me, or if anyone a tiny little bit in love with books and the written word has to act this way, but, if you ask me, books are precious creatures. You need to pet them, love them, feed them (no, okay, I’m going too far here). Just take care of them, and when someone casually takes a book off my bookshelf in their greasy hands or whatever, it gives me chills and make me want to scream. At them, for thinking they can touch my books without prior authorization, and WITH dirty hands as well. Just like when I left my book on the living room table, and suddenly I’m seeing my mom coming dangerously with her HOT MUG FULL OF TEA. Tea is good, and tea and a book are sometimes a perfect combinaison, especially with fall coming and bla, bla, bla. Yeah, but what about keeping the hot, menacing mug a REASONABLE DISTANCE AWAY from my books?

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Books are fragile. Well, they’re not if you ask anyone, but if you’re just a tiny bit like me, you like to take care of your books. Books are used to being taken care of, and WELL. But what happens when you bond with some friend over a story, and suddenly she / he eyes your bookshelf with envy, daring to take a step closer, but yet not daring to ask if he or she can take that book home for a while? Just to read it, and then it’ll come back, just like it never left. Don’t take me wrong, I am a nice person – really, sometimes, I’m too nice. But when it comes to my books, well… I’m sometimes turning into this CRAZY person. Because no matter how sweet and gentle this friend might be, well, who knows what they’re going to do to your book when you left? Leave it on a table to be FORGOTTEN? Casually dog-ear the pages, just because why not? WRITE in it? Okay. Those aren’t the worst thing, though the forgotten issue gives me chills. PAGES CANΒ  BE TORN. Oh, the friends’ dog might come by and think of the book as a toy. TEA can be spilled, words and WORLDS might be ruined. And there it is, the worst of it all: the book might never come back.

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You know how you don’t feel like going into the water after seeing that movie filled with sharks? Well, the bookworm’s issue with lending books is kind of the same things. Except humans are books, and the sharks are your friends, acquaintances, anyone wanting to take them home. They don’t want it. Okay, I don’t want it anymore. Because once someone gets you your book back with pages torn, then asks you if they can borrow the sequel, I can’t help but scream a BIG FAT “NO”. It’s not even because it’s one of my favorite books (at the time). It’s because people should be CAREFUL, and because books are babies, and just because… HOW ABOUT YOU don’t touch my books anymore?dont-touch-my-book

Thankfully, I know some people are trustworthy when it comes to my books. My family knows not to come forward with a hot mug when there’s a book on the table anymore. I know some people will take care of my books and my sister knows my craziness about all of it. So I guess I’m good, now. Taking a breath or two, and sharing my books with the ones knowing how close I hold them to my heart.

Do you share your books with your friends, family? Are you especially careful when it comes to your books?

Do you dog-ear pages, write in books or like to keep them in a great condition? Did you ever SCREAM at someone because of a book? (spoiler alert: I did. More than once.) Let’s chat in comments πŸ’¬

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

98 thoughts on “Do NOT touch my books: a bookworm pet peeve

  1. OMG I thought I was the only one going crazing over my books and the fact that I don’t want to lend them to anyone makes me a bad person… Personally I don’t dog-ear my books and from what I can remember I haven’t had any serious accidents involving books so far !!!!!! I’m a total freak when it comes to my books !!

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  2. I never dog ear. It’s just wrong. I don’t loan out anymore, not even to people I trust, simply because it’s the principle of the thing. I totally understand you! You’re not crazy. Books are valuable, important. We come from a species of storytellers, and we used to consider storytelling a sacred thing. It should still be that way. πŸ™‚

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  3. I consider myself to be a kind and generous person too, but there are LIMITS, especially when it comes to books. After making some bad experiences with letting people borrow my books, I just don’t do it anymore, unless it is a book I don’t need anymore and didn’t like in the first place (even though that most likely means I will just gift it to someone … and really … that doesn’t happen very often in the first place). There is ONE person who is allowed to borrow my books, my cousin. She is the best and she knows me and she is tender with my books. And my mum is the sweetest. When I got my Hamilton book, I left it on the sofa in the living room so that she could look at it. (It’s such a gorgeous book!) and I even told her she could look at it, but when I got home from work, she still hadn’t touched it. She said she was too afraid to touch it xD so … I have made myself quite the reputation when it comes to how to handle my books. CARE is the important word here.

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    1. Hahaha your mom is SO adorable, can I say that? It’s TRUE ❀ I probably have that same kind of aura around me because my mom looks at me before touching any of my books or just asking if it's okay to move it, haha, I just give her a bad look when it's not. I'm kind of crazy when you think about it haha. But yes, I've had bad experiences as well and completely get you on that point. I don't want my books to be ruined!
      Thank you so much Kat ❀ ❀

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  4. I hate sharing my books and rarely do it! I feel mean but I’m so particular about how neat they have to be kept. I like my books to look new and it’s practically heart-breaking if I accidentally bend a corner or something haha! The only person I lend books to is my mum because she’s just as careful as me. Wow I sound like a horrible neat freak haha! Great post!

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  5. Hahah, I love this post so much, Marie!! I don’t dog-ear or annotate in my books — it seems like the ultimate bookish sin ever xD I love to keep my books in the most pristine condition as possible, but of course I can’t help getting the corners of those paperbacks a bit bent *sighs* I’ve stopped lending out books to friends & even family — there’s a FREE library (is that mean? lol) right around the corner!! πŸ˜€

    -Jess @jbelkbooks

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  6. Yup. I will never lend books. But they can touch the books. Though my hawk eye will point them sternly till they return the book. LOL! And I will rave about a book to my friends. When they ask me to lend the book. I just laugh and run away, literally, from the scene.

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  7. The only books I ever write in are for university, then I write and highlight them. I never did this at first but being in a seminar and wanting to talk about a quote but then not being able to find that quote fast enough is very stressful haha! If I end up loving the book and know I will read it again like I did with The Great Gatsby then I buy a nice clean copy haha! I never lend books out to my friends now, not after one wasn’t returned for 2 years, 1 came back with tea stains and one just never returned at all. Now i’m like aha don’t touch. I once shouted at my mum because she picked up my book and flipped through it and I was like ‘YOU’RE GOING TO BREAK THE SPINE’.
    Some people spend money on designer clothes… I spend money on books and want to keep them as safe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I get it, I can’t imagine how long it must take sometimes just to find one single quote, especially if it’s a big book! Wow, two YEARS, I think that person broke the record I had haha. That’s so long, it’s crazy. I get the feeling, I do want to keep my books safe as well, I love them WAY too much haha ❀ Thank you SO much for stopping by! ❀

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  8. Oh I never lend my books to anyone, I won’t say I’ve ever had a really bad experience lending a book to anyone. None of them have come back damaged or torn or even not come back at all but I get really OCD about my books and I don’t like any creases in the spine or the pages and I just can’t risk it! I won’t even lend to my family because they don’t have the same love for books I do, I just won’t risk it!
    Great post Marie! πŸ˜€

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  9. Great post, Marie! I’m actually really lax with my book-lending compared to most other bloggers (from what I’ve seen) – I’d happily lend out my books to anyone IF and only IF they’ve proven to be trustworthy with books before and don’t throw them around, etc. Most of my friends don’t dog-ear books and do keep them in pristine-ish conditions, and I love the idea that my books have ‘traveled’ with my friends. If they end up ruining it one way or another, I think as long as they offer a refund (that I may or may not accept), I’d happily lend them another in the future. πŸ˜›

    I’ll also say that I’m OK with books not returning, just as long as I’m still in contact with said friend! God knows some of my books have become temporary residents in my friends’ places, and vice versa – life gets in the way and we might still be planning to read the book; we just don’t have the time yet. Admittedly, I don’t reread that often so I never really miss my books that much after I’ve read them once, even the favourites.

    To be fair, though, I might just be like this because I haven’t yet had that many horrible experiences. I’ve had one where my dad’s friend’s daughter borrowed some manga series – maybe like 10-15 books – 12 years ago and never returned them, but I’m like “oh well” about it now. πŸ˜‚

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    1. I WISH I was just like you when it comes to my books πŸ˜‚ I love the idea of books being at friends’ and just being happy there and taken care of haha, sadly I have had bad experiences and books kind of ruined or not even coming back, and that made me too mad to ever want to try this πŸ˜‚ Maybe someday I’ll find a cure for this πŸ˜‚

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      1. Yeah, bad experiences are enough to turn you off these things, I’m sure! I’m just quite chill as a person over most of my ~possessions~ so I tend to not mind as much, haha. And hey, tbh I don’t think it’s anything that needs to be “cured”. You are who you are and it’s perfectly fine if you don’t feel comfortable lending out your books. 😊

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  10. A few years ago and this was EXACTLY me! I would not let anyone TOUCH my book at all or else I would see to it that they were ended completely XD Now I’m a lot more carefree with my books but HURT THEM AND YOU DIE. I used to make bookmarks of a whole list of rules and give them to people when o lent them out but now people JUST KNOW the pain they will go through if they try anything *cackles evilly*

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  11. I rarely let my friends borrow my books. And when I do, I make sure to tell them ALL the things they are not allowed to do, and what I will do to them if they don’t take care of my books. I want to make them sign a contract but I think that might be going too far haha.
    And dog-earing pages is definitely a no-no, I use bookmarks like a normal human :D.
    But I do highlight quotes in my books πŸ™‚

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  12. I feel like I’m kind of the odd one out when it comes to this stuff because it doesn’t really worry me too much if my books aren’t kept in pristine condition πŸ™ˆ I love the look of used books and I would always dog ear pages (until this year because I discovered my obsession for bookmarks). I definitely draw the line at writing in books though, haha. I use sticky tabs if there’s something I want to “highlight”. I don’t really know many people irl who are into reading, but I definitely don’t think I could loan them out either because like I’m cool with myself accidentally damaging something, but anyone else? No thank you, haha. Plus there’s the fear of never having them returned.

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    1. Haha you’re not odd at all, it’s like the book has a life, it’s torn, but it’s still breathing and all haha (kind of going too far with this now, aren’t I ?!). I understand the feeling, I used to be so scared of people never returning my books, and then it happened and I was like, yeah, nope. Not happening again, ever, haha. Thank you so much Lauren ❀

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  13. I used to be happy to let friends borrow my books because we could talk about them and it would be great but then a friend lost two of my books and was convinced she never had them. I got them both back eventually but both were damaged and she never said sorry. That was the last straw for me. She damaged a hardcover that I wouldn’t be able to replace without spending a lot of money. If I knew someone would be kind to my books then I wouldn’t mind letting them borrow it but I am rather picky when it comes to who can read my books! Great post by the way! πŸ™‚

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  14. ooooh I LOVE writing in books. I got into it about a year ago and since then I anotate my books now and then. But not all of them. Though I hate dog ears. I’m lending my books only to people I know they will take care of them. But I also screamed at my friend one time because she destroyed the cover of my paperback. 😦 One has to be always cautious when lending a book.

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    1. Ohh, well it’s nice to know someone who likes writing in her books πŸ™‚ I have to admit, it’s such a personal thing to do, and having little notes just makes the re-reading experience so much different, I guess πŸ™‚ Hahaha, I’m glad I’m not the only one screaming because of my books πŸ˜› Thank you SO much Simone! πŸ™‚ ❀

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  15. I am extremely careful (although I do admit I threw The Fault in Our Stars the first time I read it because I was so upset). I rarely let anyone borrow books (rather I would point them towards the library), but if I do, I have very specific rules and won’t let them have the dust jacket (it could get ruined and that is usually the pretty part). It drives me crazy when people use books for a coaster or something irresponsible like that (lol) I freak out a little. I might over react at times (or always), but books are a special escape and adventure for me and I don’t want people to destroy them.

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  16. Nope, I won’t lend a single book: it won’t come back the same…and it will need therapy, and meds, and all sorts of help from the abuse!!
    Lol.
    But seriously…no. Nope. Not happening. Get. Your. Own. Damn. Book.
    All you have to do when someone asks is point over their shoulder, say, “There’s a library that way…” And then run like hell!!
    πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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  17. Oooohhh I’m extremely possessive of my books too!! But who doesn’t? Books are precious creatures that need to be preserved πŸ˜› I NEVER dog-ear or write on my books because that’s a savage thing to do!? I also plastic wrap all my books to keep them from getting dirty or wet. However, I lend my books pretty loosely, since most who borrow are my close friends/family anyway haha I trust them but even with them, I always make sure to give heavy warning not to get my books ruined πŸ˜› funny story, one time my cousin brought my book to her school and her class mate broke the accompanying bookmark. My cousin knew I’d get mad so she freaked out at her friend and they ended up stealing the bookmark from a bookstore to replace my broken one LOL that was pretty extreme but all I care was my book and its bookmark came back safely πŸ˜› great post Marie! πŸ™‚

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    1. Haha, well I’m so glad I’m not the only one. I don’t plastic-wrap my books, but I have an unconditionnal love for some of them, so maybe it’s something I would consider as well! Hahaha, I love your story that made me smile. It’s kind of awesome how your cousin knows you’d freak out about it all, and kind of went all the way to buy another bookmark hahaha. THAT is dedication πŸ˜› Thank you so much! ❀

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  18. I’ve actually not have issues with people touching my book. But water proximity is definitely a no no. I am very hesitant on loaning people my books though. On one hand, “yay, more people sharing what I love with me.” On the other, “what if they returned it damaged, or *gasp* lose it?” I usually try to give them the benefit of the doubt but one strike and you’re not of the loan list.

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  19. Great post! I’m pretty much a freak when it comes to my books πŸ™‚ I like to keep them in pristine condition and I will even make sure to read books really awkwardly just to make sure I don’t break the spine… It’s a little crazy. But I do still lend my books out, but then again I only do that to my best friend, who is also my neighbour so.. I know where to find her and my books πŸ˜‰ But she knows my obsession with books so I know she takes care of them. Other people… I’m not so sure I want to lend any books to honestly πŸ™‚

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  20. I love this! I recently gave two friends free reign on my bookshelves because I knew I couldn’t bring all of my books to uni with me, so I let them borrow whatever they want. They both love reading so I felt comfortable letting them take my books, but I did have to outline what I found okay or not – I’m fine with spine-breaking, and light markings in pencil, but dogearing is a no-no and my god if you borrow a hardcover that dust jacket better come back pristine.

    I love swapping books with friends, because we all go to different unis/live in different places, but having each others’ books and reading them and chatting about them keeps up connected and reminds us all that we love reading!

    Zoe @ Readabilitea

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    1. Aww thank you so much Zoe, I’m so happy you enjoyed this! I love this whole idea and that you have friends you can exchange books with and talk about it. It really bring people closer! I wish I could do that as well, I’m sharing all of my books with my sister and we can talk about it lots, but otherwise I don’t have many people in my life, other than on the blogosphere, reading the same kind of books I do. It’s so great you can do that πŸ˜€ ❀

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  21. I think there are only a few books in my collection that I’m very protective of – the old hardback classics that I got from my grandma, and my copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (it has the adult 1998 steam-train cover and many nostalgic feelings associated!), the rest I don’t mind so much about though, not sure why. But after reading your post I will be extra sure to treat other people’s books with care! I would hate someone to feel I was disrespecting their books in my flippancy.

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      1. Haha, no don’t worry it didn’t freak me out – I had a friend in high school who never wanted to lend me books because he didn’t want the spines getting crinkled, so I have previous experience of book-protectiveness πŸ™‚ (and actually I didn’t mind his reluctance, cos I prefer to own all the books I read rather than borrowing them anyway – maybe that is my slightly crazy thing, that I have to actually own the book, not just read it, and if I borrow one to read I often buy my own copy later anyway if I like it!)

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  22. haha okay, first things first, I’m never touching your books! πŸ˜‰ especially not while holding tea! So I’m really weird about lending books. I don’t like to borrow books unless I *know* I can get them back to the person in a few days and know it won’t get in the way of me reading something I’m already reading/about to read (I honestly get so stressed out about borrowing books that I don’t do it!!) As for lending books… I just give away ones I intend on getting rid of so that I don’t have to deal with the politics of asking for them back! (I mean- it’s really hard to judge when a reasonable time is!! and I just don’t want to be parted from my babies for that long) That said… I buy *a lot* of tattered second hand books- so I’m not fussed about dog ears. And… I have an English Lit degree so I write in books #sorrynotsorry (see- this is why I would never touch your books!) Honestly- everyone has different rules about books- be it lending or borrowing or how you treat them- the thing is to just be respectful of other people’s rules for their books- or us bookworms will lose it!!
    (sorry for rambling- this was just really thought provoking!)

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    1. Hahahaha oh God, I must be labelled now as the crazy blogger whose books you shouldn’t touch hahaha. Oh but if you’re careful, I would completely trust you with it. I just had so many bad experiences, it made me mad. I’m a bit overprotective of my books I guess haha.
      Oh yes you’re so right, it’s a bit hard to know when you can ask for them back. I read quite fastly I guess, but everyone read at his own rhythm, and we don’t want to seem too eager to have the book back haha.
      YES exactly. I don’t judge anyone who ever writes in their books or dog-ear them or something, I mean, just like you said, everyone has his own rules with their books. What matters is that we respect each others’ rules πŸ™‚ THANK YOU, and please, ramble as long as you want, I LOVE IT ❀

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      1. Hahaha don’t worry I’m pretty scared of borrowing books from anyone! I rarely borrow books from anyone but the library. Although I will borrow books if everyone is just sitting round reading (book reading “parties”are the best!)
        Ahh yes I’m a fast reader too- my issue is that a mood reader, so I can change my mind and what I want to read really quickly- if I borrow a book there’s no guarantee I’ll want read it straight away. (Unless I read it there and then- which I think it’s the best solution)
        Hahaha exactly! You’re welcome!!!

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  23. I am pretty careless with my books tbh. You would be horrified. That said, I hate lending. Because so much of the time they don’t come back! When I was in my first year of university, I accidentally became my flat’s (of 12 people!!!) library. It was STRESSFUL. On the one hand, it is easier to make sure you get books back when you live in the same building, but on the other… Oh, the anxiety.

    I hope you’re okay. I wasn’t sure if I caught a stressed vibe at the beginning of your post xx

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    1. Hahaha, well, as long as you’re not careless with my books, I will be okay I think πŸ™‚ Oh I get it, all of the anxiety, I don’t know if I would have been able to take it, ahah.
      Thank you so much, I am, well, I guess I will be. All of this adulting, and trying to have life and some things figured out as much as I can, is stressful. But well, that’s life of a newly graduated, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

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      1. Ugh, it is. I am a year in, and clueless as ever. Weirdly, my mum’s friends/people my mum’s age who have kind of known me forever have become my worst nightmares. They are the people who will ask me nothing but what I am doing with my life, a question I simply don’t have the answer to!

        I hope you start feeling better. You will be okay. I am trying to tell myself that just because it feels overwhelming doesn’t mean that it actually is.

        And in the mean time… we have books! They will always be there for us πŸ™‚

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      2. Ugh I get the feeling. I didn’t get too many of these questions for now, but I can feel them coming, and I already hate it. It’s so hard to figure things out. But you’re right, yes, we shouldn’t let these feelings ruin our lives, and I guess that things will get better, and fall into place at the right time πŸ™‚ And yes. Books. I had a MASSIVE bookhaul the other day, and it made me feel better, until I realized just how much money I spend, hahaha.

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  24. Omg this is one of my pet peeves as well! I live in a very small apartment with my boyfriend and I sometimes forget to put my books away straight after reading, which has many times resulted in me finding that he placed his coffee mug on top of my books or him having moved it to an area full of junk etc… hahaha I guess we booknerds just see books as more precious than others do!

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  25. I am late to the party!!!
    A couple of days ago, I put on twitter the story of my mother putting her glass of water on top of my book. Massive screaming from my side!!! Books are like newborns, we have to protect them, pamper them, treat them will the best care and keep them away from harm!!!
    Like you, I’m nice :p But if someone puts their greasy hands on one of my books, I turn into this crazy red ninja monster!!! Sometimes I would love to share a story with a friend, but I am too afraid to never see my book again (has happened too many times in the past) or to let my baby out of sight for too long and being unable to protect it from stains. I’m an overprotective mama bear.

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    1. OH NO! I can’t believe that happened. It almost happens with my mom as well, and just one look and she knows what she should and shouldn’t be doing hahaha. I’m glad you understand the feeling. I’m a nice person, but I am way too overprotective when it comes to my books. I’m too scared they’d end up being crushed 😦

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  26. Hi there! I just wanted to let you know that I loved this blog post of yours! I have only just now come across your page but I am obsessed already, I am definitely going to have to follow you now to make sure I am updated with all of your posts! Keep up the great work.
    All best,
    Aimee

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