Thursday, March 22, 2012

Do you lend your books?


I am unnaturally possessive about all the things I own as it is, and more so about my growing book collection. Which is why I am increasingly reluctant to lend my books to other people.

My mom used to tell me that sharing my books with other people ought to make me happier than keeping them forever enclosed in a bookcase. Reading is what books are meant for, after all. Which is true, but you can imagine my reaction, when a brand new book that I really love is returned to me with dog-eared pages; or fingerprints and coffee stains on the cover; or a very battered spine. It's just very irritating, how carelessly people handle books. I am finally beginning to understand, why my sister never let me anywhere near her books, back when I was a very clumsy kid. Not to mention, there are those people who just simply forget to return your books.

The only thing stopping me from making this huge bookshelf in our living room, which I have wanted for years, is the fact that everyone who comes over will ask for books they could borrow. I am hesitant when it comes to lending books, but you really can't say "no" if a person asks, can you! I have always wondered, how rude it would sound if I told the person to not dog-ear or write in it and not use anything but a bookmark as the bookmark; never tried it, though.

Do you lend your books without any of these concerns? And... do you borrow books from other people?

27 comments:

Kayleigh said...

I am the worst when it comes to lending out my dvds and books! I've had a few bad experiences where a dvd (or two) I lent out never came back or came back scratched and unuseable, or when books have had pages falling out of it. Not only is it heartbreaking, but I'm a uni student and those things cost money!

So now I lend them happily (ish!) to family and close friends who I know will respect my property, or people I feel comfortable ordering around with my insane list of do's and dont's!!

Abhinav said...

I have been running a library for free for sometime now with over 200 books.The motivation is to connect more people to reading.So far it is going on well but the only problem is even giving the books away for free there are not many readers.

Sidne said...

I have a library effect too. Folks sign my books out, yes, they signature my books. everyone knows the serious reader i am so don't even try it. some folks get a NO instantly. if you do build your shelf in living room. post a decorative sign that says, I'm don't lend out, private collection.
http://sidnereading.blogspot.com

ankitthereviewer said...

I love to share my books. I mostly lend to the people who never read novels before, motivating them to read more and more. It feel really nice when we lend, knowing that we are making someone else life better.

I hope you too start lending books soon.

Harish said...

I borrow all the books that I read- from libraries. But I like to give them as gifts.

rads said...

I'm so with you on this. I hate it how people can be so careless with others belongings and books especially. I don't lend my books and clothes, call me selfish but I just hate it how people do not treat them with the same care that I do.

Vishy said...

Wonderful post, Priya! Made me feel nostalgic about the days when I used to hide books so that no one could see them and ask for them :)

I rarely lend books. I occasionally lend to friends whom I trust. Sometimes when I lend to friends or acquaintances about whom I am not sure, I either get a second copy of the book before lending, or I gift them a copy of the book. But these days I am learning to let go a bit. I sometimes gift a book I have on my shelf, or lend it without thinking too much about it. Inspite of all this, I am still very possessive of my books. My dad is quite possessive of his books (and other books at home) and I remember him trying to hide books, whenever his friends were visiting :) I used to tell him that he should say 'No' if his friend asked for a book, which he didn't want to lend. I don't know what has happened, but these days I find less-and-less people ask me whether they could borrow a book of mine. I don't know whether people borrow less and buy more these days, or whether they are reading less now. One of my friends built his whole book collection, borrowing from other people and not returning. I hate people like that.

Priya said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one with the dos and don'ts list; have a lot of bookish pet peeves!

Priya said...

Wow, a personal library. I don't know anyone who does this sort of thing, at least around here. You're right though, there are not many readers these days, especially people who read frequently!

Priya said...

Putting a sign that says private collection is actually a great idea!! When I do get a bookshelf, I'll keep it in mind.

Priya said...

Borrowing from libraries doesn't really count! But don't you hate it when people don't handle library books well, either. Once I borrowed a new arrival from a library, and the librarian told me that I shouldn't write or draw in the new books! The only thing I could think of saying was.. "Obviously not..!"

Priya said...

I don't like lending my books; clothes are out of question!! You're right; other people never treat them as carefully as we would!

Priya said...

I do gift books a lot, instead of lending them. Two of my closest friends and I had a system when we were younger (and so, short on money) to buy books together and exchange and read them! I use to lend and borrow books from my school friends too, but I never had the guarantee that the book will come back to me in the same condition! I don't think I've ever said 'no' when someone asked for a book; though, I'm guilty of using the 'I'm still reading it' excuse!

shardul kakde said...

Same story here, with some problems, even though I don't want to give any of my books, however, these people come to you first, if denied, they come again when I am out of the city. I can not even blame my mother, because she also thinks that I should give books, but she doesn't understand difference between give and give away. Now I've left counting, how many books from shelf are missing. Careless handling as another issue, I have to beg for my own books. Please return my books, no matter in what condition they are. Now with such experience I've already shifted half of my books' collection to Delhi, and planning to shift all of it as soon as possible. I guess, books are handled with care, only if we invest in them. People who borrow, never handle them with care, because they don't pay for it, they just use it, just like we use public facilities.

Priya said...

Haha, I unfortunately don't have a place to shift my books collection to. Right now, I just have to deal with people borrowing them and returning them in a horrible condition!!

Yolandica said...

I lent some books that never returned to me, and some others that, when I recovered them, they had suffered from terrible handlings...dust jackets in tatters, dog eared or crinkled pages, or even missing, coffee stains in the cover... Despite of that, I keep lending my books, but only to people whom I trust and I know they will treat my books carefully.

Rocío Pintado said...

I always lend my books. I must admit sometimes I regret doing it, because there have been friends who have lost them and I have never got those books back, but generally speaking, people I lend my books treat them well and give them back to me in a perfect condition.

suarezcarlos9472 said...

I like to lend some books, but not the ones I treasure, such as "Bomarzo", from Manuel Mújica Láinez, or "Brighter English", given as a present by my first English teacher. In Cuba, where I come from, I had huge bookshelves full-to bursting of books and was being robbed of the ones I loved most, such as "My Master Columbus" by Cedric Belfrage, because people had the bad habit of taking them directly from my private library and not returning them. In Spain, where I am currently living, I have decided not to buy books anymore. It is not a matter of price, it is just a matter of living light, that is, living with less, with the things you really need. Therefore, the far and few books I have at home are gifts mostly from friends and, in general, I borrow books from libraries. I lend my books if they return to me in the same condition they were before having lent them.

diana rodriguez said...

I do love lending my books, although sometimes they return damaged, or with an awful stain of coffee on the cover. I belileve that is the best way to encourage people to read something different, or, sometimes, just simply to read.

Priya said...

Yolandica, I can imagine your reaction when a book is returned to you like that. It's good that you still trust people with your books, though. :) Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Priya said...

Rocio Pintado - If people really usually return your books in perfect condition, then I must say, you're lucky! You should hold on to these friends.. :D Good to have you on my blog.

Priya said...

suarezcarlos9472 - I loved your comment. There are books from my childhood which were never returned to me, which I still somehow miss. Favourites, like you mentioned. Ever since I moved away from home last year, I have preferred "living light" too. Ebooks really help those of us who like that, don't they? Or are you still too old school for those... I wish I could say the same about me. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

Priya said...

You're right, Diana. I get a little too possessive about my books. But I have grown up a bit about these things. I do lend my books more freely now - and I also did get that bookshelf! It is a good way to make a reader out of someone...

Oscar said...

Books are part of me. So, if you hurt my books, you harm my soul. I can't stand people who fold pages, dog-ear pages, write notes on them or let books be stained by coffee or any sort of greasy substances just to mention some unacceptable behaviour towards my books. I like lending books, but I choose carefully my bookish friends. From now and then, I lend books maybe because I had some bad experiences about it. I remember lending the trilogy (Blindness, All the Names and The Cave by José Saramago) to a close friend. It didn't come back to me -I wish he read this comment and thought about it!. Anyway, I have in fairness to say that most of my lending experiences have been good. I think, broadly speaking, that you'll get what you give.
O.

suarezcarlos9472 said...

Thanks for your response, Priya. Of course, ebooks can be a solution for "living light". However, on that matter I am very old-fashioned and sentimental: however old or new they are, I love printed books, their feel, their smell... Just like you! It is incredible how human beings can be very much alike.

julianika said...

I rarely lend my books, and when I do it, it's just because I'm sure that the person who takes my book is going to take advantage of it, although the book never return to me, it would have been worthy if it has helped in some way. Last time was an small dictionary (spanish - english) about food and restaurants, which I bought in my first english courses, and it was perfect for my best friend when she started working as a waitress, since she merely had a general idea of english, this book was a kind of "savior" for her.

Priya said...

Oscar - "If you hurt my books, you harm my soul." I couldn't have said it better! You'll get what you give - now that's something I don't entirely agree on... I handle books I own and borrow with complete caution but not everyone I know does me that courtesy, not always, anyway. It's good that your lending experiences have been good, it means there are many other people out there who know and appreciate the value of books. It's comforting...

suarezcarlos9472 - It's great to know the sentimentality over books still lives on. :)

julianika - I love that you call the dictionary a saviour for your friend. At some point or the other, that is what it is for all of us!

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