“i’d love to read (fill in the book title)…could i borrow it when you’re finished?”
will you be taking the book on your cruise to the bahamas?
will you be moving to Australia between now and the time you get around to reading it?
will you in turn loan it to “just this one good friend who was dying to read it”?
will you stuff if into your briefcase along with your dayplanner, liverwurst sandwich, and (leaky) water bottle?
the fact is, i do lend books quite regularly, but only to a select group of friends. we pass books back and forth with ease, and i never have a moment’s worry about whether they’ll be returned to me in a timely manner, and in pristine condition.
i am such a booklover, though, that, on occasion, i find myself completely enraptured with a novel, and wanting to share it with everyone.
sometimes, this desire backfires. a few years ago, i purchased a copy of The Namesake, read it – no savored it – and immediately fell in love with it. the theme of assimilation into a new culture was extremely pertinent (my son had just married a young woman from Thailand, and was in the process of arranging for her immigration to the united states). this was a book i knew i would read again-and perhaps, even again.
but, foolish me, in my zest to share this wonderful novel with everyone, i allowed a co-worker to borrow it.
little did i know that she was planning to take a leave of absence for knee surgery. little did i know that she would never return to our office, and my book would disappear with her.
and i still miss that book.
certainly, i could replace it. i could even purchase a copy in paperback if i wanted to spare some expense. or search it out on bookmooch.
but it wouldn’t be the book – the hardcover i first read and fell in love with.
and you probably think the ravenous reader is just plain silly.
but i’ve sworn off lending books to just anyone, no matter how nice a person they seem. silly or not, books are too important to me. after all , this is a girl who, as a child, would cover up books that had picture of puppies or kittens on the cover, since they “might get cold” during the night. this is a girl who never piled books on top of one another since those on the bottom of the stack “could get bent.” this is a girl who, following the advice of her favorite librarian, uses only the barest sliver of tissue as a bookmark, since anything thicker is “dangerous” to the spine. (well, i really don’t do thay anymore.)
at any rate, i’m no longer a lender.
however, there is this collection of short stories i’ve just finished that i feel you must read…