WHAT’S MY TAKE?
To lend or not to lend? Second to deciding whether I want to be the next Persephone or the General of a mermaid battalion, deciding whether I should allow person A to borrow my books is the hardest decision. Even harder than deciding where I want to go for lunch.
Personally, I’m not very specific about having my books in pristine condition.
Bent spine? Cool.
Dog-eared pages? Cozy.
Yellowing pages? Cutie.
I don’t have a problem with lending because I, myself, used to borrow a bag or two of books from a friend every week. In my opinion, the best you can do for your beloved story is to share it.
I had a scare once in high school when my newly acquired copy of Twilight went missing. Breaking Dawn – a huge book, by the way – was stolen from my friend whose tears and apologies only intensified the stress of losing a gifted book. I couldn’t help wondering why anyone would want to steal a book when I’m pretty well known among my classmates for generously lending books. Long story short, the book was returned and has traveled all the way from India and is safely nestled in my bookshelf here in the Philippines.
Lending books is risky; even the hardest of hardbacks are quite flimsy. And I can’t say no when someone earnestly wants to read.
THE RISK OF LENDING
“It’s just a book.”
Why, excuse me, Mr. Waffle Head! It’s not just a book, it’s hours of sweat and stained coffee cups; it’s 500 pages of teary eyes and choice curses; this book is remembers my fingerprints and has probably a few fingernails embed between the pages. The things this book has done to my heart makes it an incubus reincarnated.
The downside of lending your book is a horror story that will haunt bookworms through the generations. Books are never returned or if they are, you find stains
Worst case scenario is probably having friend A lend your book to friend B, who then lends it to their third cousin, who leaves it at their great-grandfather’s house over Easter, who donates their entire library – including your precious mass market paperback – to a church library, only for it to be defaced by a year old toddler.
And you wonder why I have trust issues?
…BUT LENDING IS GOOD!
While I am very protective of my books, at some point, I think it would be unfair on my part to lend my books to someone who is sincere. To be honest, I feel like a terrible bibliophile if I don’t share the joy of reading. One of the most rewarding things about lending book is having someone fall in love with reading. One of my wishes is to inspire someone to begin reading books, especially young children.
I know children who don’t have access to libraries and are not encouraged to read; two weeks ago, I lent one of them my books. An old Enid Blyton copy. I lent her this book knowing that my book would be vulnerable to her puppies’ teeth and her siblings’ hands. But this fear is soothed whenever she comes by to tell me of her progress in the book, and I think Why allow my books to go unread and gather dust when there’s someone else who’ll give it the attention it needs?
Perhaps my book will come back to me in a condition worse than it was before or it may never, but I sleep easy knowing I helped someone discover the joy of reading.
However, the same cannot be said for adults. Maybe it’s because I believe them to be more responsible such that if they are reckless with a book I swear off lending altogether. I find it hard to forgive adults who don’t take care of books, so I am more wary of lending. But in the same way that I can’t resist carbs, I also can’t help shoving books into undeserving hands.
So, if you’re like me, then the next section is for you.
SANE & SAFE LENDING
Firstly, DO YOU TRUST THE PERSON? This is the first thing any bookworm should consider. Are you aware of how this person takes care of their things? If the question comes up you could always say that you don’t lend out copies of the book in question.
KEEP TABS ON THE BOOKS YOU LEND. Take note from your local library and write down the information. Have a check out date and a tentative date for when you’d like the book returned. Another safe way is to take pictures of the person with the book.
PROTECT YOUR BOOKS! Keep your books in a protective cover and provide bookmarks. If needed, have a short list of rules to handout. Print your own library stickers or write your name in your books.
Have an alarm at the end of the week to CHECK ON THEIR READING PROGRESS. Some of you may think this is going a bit overboard but, trust me, you need to do this. It works as motivation for the borrower to read the book. You’ll also foster a conversation and, because of the fresh eyes, a new perspective will be offered to you.
And finally, kindly understand that ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN. Unless the borrower broke a cardinal rule, it simply can’t be helped. My precious copy got eaten by our puppy once. Unless your friend suddenly decided to bathe your book in chamomile tea and feed it to the cat, then you might need to reconsider your idea of trust. Worst case scenario you get them to buy you a new copy.
Do you lend books freely? What rules do you keep when lending books? Share your book lending horror story!
Let’s be friends!
Cam’s Bookish Tales is a weekly discussion post by Camillea Reads on the weird & wacky world of literature and its bibliophiles. This blog post is a link up to Pages Unbound’s 52 Discussion Prompts for 2018