Image credit: Books HD by Abhi Sharma, on Flickr. CC by 2.0.
I have a confession to make: I don’t want to lend you my books.
Books are revered objects to me and I can’t bear the idea that they might be damaged when they are not under my supervision.
I’m sure this protective impulse comes from my childhood. I L-O-V-E-D to read, but buying books was a financial extravagance. Sometimes I had a little money squirreled away or my mom found a little extra in the household budget for me to order a book from the school book club, but that was a rare event. Luckily for me, my small town had a library large enough to satisfy my reading appetite (and employed a librarian that did a great job rotating the supply with books from the other county library branches).
I still use the library as my primary source of reading material, but now I can afford to augment my supply by buying books. Coming from a frugal background, I take care of my stuff and keep it in good condition. If I offer to lend you a book, you have earned a high level of trust with me.
Occasionally, my good judgment fails me.
During one past relationship, I entrusted my date with a book that was of special importance to me. We had discussed it and I was persuasive in my review of the quality of the writing and advice it offered, so he asked to borrow it. I trusted him, so I allowed him to do so.
I found out he had a character defect I missed: He didn’t care for things like I did and he ruined my book. When he had the nerve to return it, the pages were warped because he read it in the bathtub and dropped it in the water. He had also used it as a coaster for his overfull coffee cup; the telltale rings were all over the cover.
I was horrified by his lack of respect for something that belonged to me, and I knew the relationship was doomed. He didn’t even offer to replace it. Jerk. After we parted ways, I replaced my damaged book with a pristine copy and vowed—as God as my witness—I would never lend it again.
So, to those of you that know me in real life, please don’t be offended if, instead of offering to loan you a book, I gently encourage you to patronize your local library. Not only is it a good practice to honor your local library with a visit, it’s good practice to preserve a harmonious relationship with me.
What about you? Do you feel protective of the books you own? If you are protective, are you protective of all your books or just certain titles? Tell me your thoughts (even if it is to tell me I’m cuckoo)!