I am known to my friends and family as being quite a reader – I doubt that my living space will ever be empty of reading material. As such, I am often asked to
- recommend a book (err, read my reviews here)
- lend books out
- use my contacts to get rid of books people have finished with.
In my apartment, I have several areas, currently overflowing with books, but there is some form of method in my madness in how things are stored, especially for those books that I’m willing – or not – to lend out.
I have a shelf of books in my place that is the “do not lend” shelf. People know not to ask for books on that shelf, as it’ll be a “No”. These are the hardbacks (usually Terry Pratchett), the Persephone Greys (definitely a no); etc etc.
There is another shelf of books that are generally Bookcrossing books that I have yet to read. These books I have no problem in lending them out – as long as I get them back (because I haven’t read them yet!). Unfortunately, some have gone out, only for them never to be seen again. Apparently because “I thought I could put them straight to the Charity Shop” – even though I had specifically said I WANT THIS BACK. Needless to say, these people now only get to pick from the crate in the corner – this is the “I have no problem never getting back” pile – usually, Bookcrossing books that were due for release anyway, never to be seen again….It’s this bucket that ultimately gets the books covered by #3 above!
I’ve also been asked by someone to read a new acquisition before I’d had the chance to read it myself. I handed it over (knowing I wouldn’t be reading it for a while) with the proviso that I’d like it back when finished with, so I could read it myself. It was handed back minutes later with a “well if you wanted to read it yourself you should have given this copy over and brought yourself another copy”. Errr, what? buy a second copy of a book I’d already brought so that you could “borrow” the first one? Especially when there’s already a copy of the same book in your house? No, you’re ok, ta.
There was one specific person I used to lend my Terry Pratchett books to – it was a constant conversation and (almost) argument that he would take the dust jackets off whilst he read them. My view was that the jackets were there to protect the book, his that the jackets were works of art in their own right, so needed to be protected as much as the books. I still lent him the books, and they still came back ok, so we must have agreed somewhere along the line!
So, constant reader, do you have any nightmare/pet peeves when it comes to lending books to people?