Borrowed books and umbrellas are seldom returned.Ruskin Bond, Funny Side Up
If I lend you a book, you are important to me. Read it, savour it, digest it, and return it to me. If you can’t do all the above in about a month or so (because life happens) then do not borrow it. Books are an investment, the return is I am entertained, enlightened and educated all in one package. My books aren’t for your TBR pile, that’s what your books are for. You have all the time in the world to read your books. However, you don’t have all the time to read mine.
Observe the state of my book when I lend it to you. There are no dog ears, no scuffed covers and no stains on the pages. If you know you wear cheap foundation which gets on your fingers and onto the pages of my books, do not borrow it please and thank you. I appreciate that books offer a sense of comfort like no other, and you want to cuddle up with your blanket, some other comfort food and your cup of coffee whilst reading my book – don’t. Coffee stains can be removed from clothes, unfortunately they do not come off pages and they are almost always greasy. I do not want to see through to the next page because of a transparent oil stain on my page.
You are my friend, and if I loaned you a book to read it’s because I like you. Do not test the boundaries of our friendship by taking it upon yourself to lend my book to your best friend. I know you, not them. They might just decide to migrate, and in the chaos of moving, they forgot that you loaned them my book, they forgot it’s not your book and you never see or hear from them again.
Or worse yet, (true story) you lend a working colleague your book, mind you, you bought this book from a pavement vendor in New York back in 2001. She forgot she was driving through a flood and your book was a backseat passenger, needless to say my book was water soaked, unreadable and it was never replaced.
Like everything, people won’t treat your books like you will. They won’t feel the same way about your books as you do. Worse, if someone gifted you a book and there is heavy sentimental value, or if it has been signed by the author, do not lend it.
Leaving your toddler unsupervised with crayons and within reach of my book is unacceptable. No, I don’t think it’s cute, it gives me palpitations and you were irresponsible.
Yes, I know you want your friends to share in the experience, you want to have animated discussions about the book after. If this is what you’re into, start a book club, so in that way, everyone has their own copy and you don’t lose friends. Thank me later.
Many of my friends are avid readers and as we get older, I notice we no longer offer our books nor do we ask to borrow books. The unspoken code seems to be, get your own and let’s remain friends.
Do you lend your books?
If you do, do you have conditions?
Share some of your book-lending nightmares…