Friday, June 15, 2012

Tales From the Crazy Book Lending Lady (aka EcoYogini)

EcoYogini treads the edge of the deep end when it comes to lending her books...

When I get a really great book, I just want EVERYONE to be reading it and experiencing the amazingness that I am. Sharing the fabulousness of a story (of an adventure!) is one of the best parts of analog books. Unlike an electronic copy of a book, when I read someone's real paper book it's like I'm more closely sharing their reading experience. Somehow the real-life aspect of the ink, paper, binding translates more easily into a shared true experience than the fleeting electronic word. I'm physically touching the words so it feels more real to me.

So I love lending books. It's like sharing Joy. Unfortunately, not everyone is great at borrowing books. When I lend a story, it's like lending a precious and fun part of me. Trashing and mistreating my book is kinda like insulting my reading adventure. No really. (I know, you're looking at this blog post and thinking- this lady is crazy! but seriously though I can't be alone here).

It's not that I barely open each book to avoid binding creasing... but my books are kept in pretty good shape. Sure over time, if they are read many times they start to get a little soft and well loved... but I don't crease the pages, rip the covers, spill coffee or water or completely fold back the covers of my books. I love every part of my books, why would I do that?

Recently, I lent The Hunger Games and Widdershins to one of my best friends M. The Hunger Games I had only read once. I just got them back last weekend and this is what they looked like:
 (It's like her cat attacked it and she sprayed water on him to stop the cat attack and it got on my book... or something like that)
(this is what most of my books look like- this one was even read by Andrew, myself AND another friend who obviously knows the book borrowing rules. PS- The Magicians? Totally a kick butt book)

M., although I love her dearly, looked at me like I was completely bonkers when I asked her what the eff she did to my books... kinda jokingly.

So- perhaps there is a need for some guidelines as the lend-ee and borrow-ee of cherished books. You know, just so we keep things in the happy book place... (ok, I might be a little crazy).

The Share-ee of Amazing Story:

  1. Write your name and phone number in the book. No really- I know it's totally junior high, but some borrowers borrow SO many books they forget who gave them what. Case in point- My Tante Denise borrowed about 5 books from me 4 years ago. Unbeknownst to me she had also about 20 books waiting to be read. I have never seen them again. Or they lend them to other people to read too (not cool). So write your name and your phone number. The cool kids do it.
  2. Keep track of who you lend what books to. Just so after a few months you can politely inquire as to how the reading is going. Don't they LOVE LOVE the book like you did? Perhaps they're finished and can return it to you?
  3. Subtly marvel over how beautiful your book is... because you don't read while in the tub, or fold the binder all the way back, or crease the pages. 
The Borrow-ee of Amazing Story:

  1. Please don't crease the pages to hold your spot. Any little scrap of paper works just fine. I have about a zillion bookmarks, I can give you one. 
  2. Please don't read near water... or pop, or in the bathtub, or outside while it's raining. Having my book soaked in water with icky food and drink stains really isn't conducive to happy future reading. 
  3. If I don't bend the cover back, please resist doing so as well. You can easily read a book with the cover normally opened. It doesn't have to be curled all the way back and around. No really, it doesn't.
  4. Please don't write in my book... unless they are awesome little notes in pencil. That I can erase if I don't agree. 
  5. Please don't decide the book is so awesome YOU need to lend it to one of your friends. I've lent you a piece of my story adventuring soul... it feels weird for YOU to lend piece to a stranger. 
  6. If you don't like it... please give it back. If you like it... please give it back.
  7. If you trash my book completely, apologize. That's all I need. I don't need a brand new book, just an acknowledgement that shit happens and you know books are important to me. That's enough.
There you have it. Evidence of the fact that when it comes to books I may be slightly off my rocker. Do you have any book rules that you adhere by? Or perhaps you've come to the end of this post and are still shaking your head at the crazy that is EcoYogini :)


Anonymous said...

Girl, I am SO with you on this one!! I try not to be precious about my books because I do want to enjoy reading them and not worry about, say, the binding loosening. BUT...I am very careful with them, otherwise. I don't dogear the pages, I don't bend the covers and I never let them get wet. In fact, even my "workhorse" books (the ones I highlight and write notes in) look pretty good from the outside!

I also am anal about giving people their books back in the condition in which they were given to me. Just seems polite.

My mom always taught me that books were valuable, just like jewelry. That always stuck with me. Once, one of my nephews ripped a page out of his children's book and I reacted with such a look of horror, you would've thought he had just thrown a diamond in the trashcan.

Anyway....not crazy at all!!

P.S. I just finished The Onion Girl and am DYING to get my hands on Widdershins! Just got to finish the books I'm working on now...

Helena said...

The only reason I'm shaking my head is to marvel at the fact that you're willing to loan books out at all, especially if you get them back in that condition! I've gotten to a point where I only lend to family, and even that makes me nervous. My sister's had a couple of my books for over a year now, they're in her stack of books she starts and stops. And my MIL gives them back in worse shape than I lent them, AND one time she lent one of my favorites to her friend (without asking me), who then gave it to her husband to read...I basically told my MIL it was her responsibility to get it back after he was done before it grew wings and flew off to people I didn't know at all.

To be honest, it makes me nervous to borrow books too, so when I do I always try to read them quickly and get them back to the owner as soon as I can, before I can forget whose it is or my 3yo comes across it with crayons or something.

On a different note, Widdershins looks like a good read. Is it something I can read on its own or do I need to have read the first 15 in the series to understand it?

Eco Yogini said...

@Five Seed: YES I also think of books as precious like jewellery, and often in my speech therapy sessions I have seen children rip apart books... it's hard to not react strongly for sure!
Honestly, I liked Widdershins WAY better than Onion Girl... but I read Widdershins first...

@Helena: wow sounds like you have similar book lending experiences!! Yeah, I just can't seem to say no when someone appears interested in a book that I have loved....
Widdershins is amazing. It's the second book (the first being Onion Girl that Five Seed mentions). I read Widdershins first though, then I read Onion Girl. There are things in Widdershins that I knew I was missing some back story- but honestly not really. AND I like Widdershins WAY better. (but maybe it's because I read it first...).

That said, I have liked ALL of Charles de Lint's books (well, except his teen book, that was crap).

Anonymous said...

Now I'll sound like the crazy one in comparison to y'all in the comments. I don't care about the condition of the book when it comes back and can't imagine having rules around loaning books besides asking someone to return it. "Never loan someone something you can afford to lose for good" I was always told, so it's nice if I get it back, and I would rather see my books I loan out be well loved/worn than shiny and new - like a favorite pair of boots. I don't loan out my antiques because they're so tender, but everything else? The more love the better. My preference is to just pay it forward - i.e., here's a great book - read it, pass it on.

Eco Yogini said...

@ecogrrl: now that is something i wish to aspire to. Honestly, i wish I could be more like that....

but i just can't lol. :)

Helena said...

I think part of the reason I'm a bit precious about my books is that I make liberal use of the library for most things, so if I own a book it's because it's a favorite, one I reread often for pleasure or refer to frequently as a reference. I don't treat them lightly and I expect anyone who borrows them to be careful as well. But really, doesn't that extend to anything one borrows? Our rule is that if we borrow something we return it in the condition we received it in, or better--and if that is not possible (as in the case of the 3yo and the permanent marker incident) then we replace the item. It just seems like basic respect.

I'll have to check out Widdershins, thanks! When I looked it up on Goodreads it looked like it was book #16 in a series, that's why I was wondering about missing a lot. Book 2 I can handle. :)

Eco Yogini said...

@Helena: yes, i agree with you- that's how i treat things i borrow from people. That said, I wish I could be more like ecogrrl, cuz it would be less stressful and more about sharing the joy of reading haha.

Ahh- yes now it probably could fit into the Newford books at #16, but really i think Onion Girl explains Jilly's journey and he wrote Widdershins as a continuation of that journey in Onion Girl. There are other Newford books that have similar characters and are in the same universe (most are really excellent).

Eco Yogini said...

ps- i'm on goodreads too! isn't it great?? (i'm "EcoYogini" :)

YogaforCynics said...

Left a comment on lending books on the EcoYogini blog, but, here, just wanted to mention, if I haven't that I read The Magicians on your a copy of the sequel I can borrow?

Eco Yogini said...

@Dr Jay: I DO have a copy of the sequel- from your comment can i trust you won't destroy it? :)

aliceinparis said...

I agree with everything here! I love books and a good book SHOULD be shared and treated with kindness:)xo

Christine Newhook said...

I hear you. I am not super picky about how I treat my books but I always treat other people's books like gold. I've even replaced a book because I felt bad about accidental damage. My problem with lending books is that as hard as I try to remember who I loaned books to, I always lose track. For example, can't find a book I JUST read. Think I loaned it out to someone but no idea who... Really need to write this stuff down lol.

Lisa said...

I agree and decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to be a book "lender." I just can't bear my wonderful books being mistreated. That said, if I love a book and want to share it, I am a book GIVER! I do hoard my-one-dear-personal-copy-I'll-keep-forever-and-ever, then I keep an eye out for good used copies at thrift stores. When I find them, I snatch them up and then I GIVE those books to friends to use, keep, loan out themselves, read in the tub, write in, mutilate, etc. Sometimes I look in used book stores or online book stores as well, if it's a hard to find title. I give it without expectation of EVER getting it back, and my friends know that. It just feels better to me and it's honestly not that expensive. It keeps that stress out of my relationships as well.

Helena said...

@Eco Yogini--yes, I love Goodreads too. I'll look you up on there, if that's OK. :) I got Onion Girl from the library today, it looks good, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

@Lisa--now that's a good idea! Our local Goodwill usually has books for just a dollar or two, as do our Friends of the Library sales, and it would be less stressful to give a copy than to worry about getting mine back. :)


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