Borrowing books can be a tricky subject. Some people like to lend their books and don’t really care about getting them back. Others, like my sister circa 1999, have their own book loan system where the date you borrowed the book is recorded and you receive periodic reminders that the book is due. I consider myself a relatively low-key book lender, especially if I’ve read the book before and it wasn’t an Instant Favorite™, but I’ve had the experience of lending a favorite book and never again. hear about it so I can empathize with the more professional book lenders. Therefore, when I borrow a book, I try to be really respectful of the person from whom I borrowed the book. Here are a few things I learned about how to do just that.
More importantly, when you borrow a book, you want the person you borrowed the book from to feel that their book is safe with you. That’s why the first thing I like to do after borrowing a book and bringing it home is to send the lender a picture of the book in its new home. I hope seeing the book nestled comfortably between my open window and a very full cup of coffee will give the lender reassurance that their book is well taken care of. I mean, personally, it’s my happy place, and I can only imagine books feel the same – around the outdoor elements and a steaming cup of coffee!
Then, when you borrow a book, you want to put it at the top of your book pile. You know, the book that you have next in the queue, but that you are so used to looking at, becomes commonplace and you never manage to read it? This is where the book you borrowed should live because you should read it first. You should definitely get to that one next. You will definitely read it after finishing those 400 library books that are due yesterday. It would just be rude not to prioritize a borrowed book.
It is also important to provide periodic updates to the lender. Just like when you drop your dog off at daycare and the dogitter sends you pictures of your dog happily socializing and licking his butt, the book lender wants constant reassurance that his book is safe, healthy, and happy. . Send photos and short summaries of what you and their book have been up to, for example: “The book and I are having a great time again!” here we hang out watching cooking shows early in the morning, again, with coffee always nearby!!!”
Never, under any circumstances, leave the book unattended in an unstable place. An example: you have taken great care of the book for about two years. You move into a new apartment. Make sure the book you borrowed is in one of your first “fragile stuff” loads. It would be disrespectful to subject the borrowed book to the same abuse that you allow the rest of your belongings to suffer when moving house. Once you’ve changed your address with the book, start the process over. Here’s the photo of the book, here’s the book on top of the pile of books, here’s the book enjoying cooking red sauce right next to me! The book is so well maintained!!
The bottom line is this: show the book lender how much you appreciate his book. When someone lends you something, it is a sign of trust. You want to return the book in the same condition that you found it: beloved. When you eventually return it to them, send it back with your best black pen margin notes so they can see how much you enjoyed the book. Keep all your favorite passages dog-eared so the lender can see how meaningful the words in the book were. Perhaps you want to add an inscription thanking the lender. The greatest compliment of all would be to lend the book that was lent to you to someone else. What better way to show you love the book than by passing it on?
Borrowing and lending books can lead to an uncomfortable social situation if you don’t take it seriously. Luckily, I’m here to help you navigate the waters. Just follow these few tips and your friends will never hesitate to lend you their books or not. They will simply say no.