Can you read a book with bad foxing?

foxBlog Post Bingo requires me to write a definition post, so here it is!

FOXING: The reddish-brown spots found on vintage paper. The stains form over time, and as well as being unsightly, reduce the value of the book.

I don’t like reading foxed books, so will avoid them if possible. I like the paper to be crisp and white. Old books don’t have a special appeal to me, although this may be due to the number of disgusting things I’ve found in old books during the course of my work with them.

Can you read a book with bad foxing?

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  1. FleurFisher says:

    I can live with foxing in an book that is old, but not dirty or damaged. I like a book with a sense of history and wondering who has read it before and I hate to think of a book being discarded never to be read again. And I love a crisp new book too!

    1. Jackie says:

      I don’t mind old books, but I don’t like reading ones covered in spots!

  2. Diane says:

    Nope, unfortunately, I’m a new book or like new book snob.

    1. Jackie says:

      Nothing wrong with that, although I guess it is a more expensive hobby!

  3. JoAnn says:

    I definitely prefer a crisp, new book…but if foxing is the only issue with an old book (can’t deal with musty smells), I’ll still read it.

    1. Jackie says:

      I don’t like bad smells either – smoke is one of the worst for me.

  4. Sandy says:

    I like new books, but have recently picked some that were from my childhood, which were a real mess, and it didn’t bother me. I never even noticed it actually! I was more focused on the spine that was falling apart!

    1. Jackie says:

      Yes – I’ve read a few where the spine is broken and pages keep falling out – that is really annoying – especially when they get all mixed up!

  5. Nicole says:

    I haven’t come across any that have had it, thankfully. Or maybe it just wasn’t that bad.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lucky you! I guess I have more than most, as I deal in books for a living. Libraries don’t tend to have any either.

  6. claire says:

    I don’t mind foxing. I like old books. What I do not like are dirty and mangled books.

    1. Jackie says:

      I don’t like dirty books either – you never know where they’ve been!

  7. Violet says:

    ummm…I’m okay with old books unless there are too many stains in it. I really don’t mind. I just want the book to be in a good condition, without pages faliing apart and all.

    But again, reading a new book is something else all together :)

    1. Jackie says:

      I sometimes don’t like reading brand new books – I feel guilty for creasing the spine!

  8. Trish says:

    Wow–never heard of “foxing” before. I’m reading a 40 year old copy of Catch-22 right now and while the pages have discolored in a spotty way they are pretty frail and yellowed. It hasn’t hindered my reading of the book but I’m not sure it could stand a second reading.

    1. Jackie says:

      I’ve had a few books like that – so delicate you feel as though they will crumble in your hands. I hope you enjoy reading it, despite the frailty.

  9. Jeanne says:

    I love old books, and foxing doesn’t bother me. Once I found a used copy of a book I like at a Washington, DC area Goodwill store, and the pages hadn’t ever been cut. 60 years old, and the book had never been read! My guess is that it was from an estate sale.

    1. Jackie says:

      I get quite a few books from estate sales. It is a shame to see really old books which have never been read – but there are also a lot of books which have been loved to pieces!

  10. Verity says:

    I was under the impression that foxing also means graffiti? I stand corrected though!

    1. Jackie says:

      I know nothing about graffiti, so I’m afraid I can’t help you with that one.

  11. I like my books looking nice and crisp and clean. Stains, crumbly paper, mouldy hardbacks isn’t really my thing. Specially, if the pages are falling out, as people have already mentioned.

    However, I did have a signed first edition copy of Lust for Life (Irving Stone), and I loved the book to bits. It was really old when I read it, but there was something ‘special’ about that particular book… it remains one of my all-time favorites.

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