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:
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Please don't write in my book... unless they are awesome little notes in pencil. That I can erase if I don't agree.
- 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.
- If you don't like it... please give it back. If you like it... please give it back.
- 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.