Booking Through Thursday: On Loan

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Do you lend your books? Are any out on loan right now? Do you have any that have been loaned to you? Do you put a time limit on these? Do you think people should make an effort to read the loaned book quickly?

I very rarely do; in fact, I’m tempted to say that I used to and won’t anymore. My library is quite small and inaccessible, as it’s at my parents’ house at the moment, so that cuts down on lending anything from it out. If I want someone to read a particular book, I’ll usually try and find a copy at a thrift store for them.

I’ve just had really atrocious luck with lending my books out. In middle school or high school (it’s a blur, thank God!), I lent a friend of mine my treasured copy of Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault—I had a very poor grasp on what a library could do for me at the time and I had been so very proud I’d managed to get my parents to buy a book with queer content for me without them noticing. She returned it to me many weeks later than I expected, the book—gasp—damaged by being shoved into her backpack. I was utterly shocked. When my dad wanted to read Wicked, I cautiously lent him my copy. He didn’t damage it, but he never even opened the book—I had to steal it back out of my mom’s study a few months later for my trimonthly reading of the novel. (Oh, high school.) And my very first week of college, I lent my French textbook to a girl who promptly lost it in the rain.

So, yeah, I don’t really lend books or borrow them from other people—I prefer renting the library copies, because we all have agreed on the condition of library copies. In fact, I have a book out with a cracked spine that’s marked for repair as soon as I return it. But it’s a communal book, so I have no stake in its condition beyond “readable”. But otherwise? Lending doesn’t really work out for me at all.

12 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: On Loan

  1. I do loan out books that I have already read. However, I draw the line with books I haven’t read yet. I very seldom borrow from the library anymore, since I don’t like time limits on the books I read. I read for fun and entertainment and time limits causes me stress, and who wants to be stressed unnecessarily?

  2. I do lend my books, but I’d much much rather not. My policy is that I don’t loan anything i can’t live with losing. So I don’t loan my copy of the Browning letters, I’d never loan out my copies of the Narnia books, I wouldn’t loan my Harry Potter books or some of my Diana Wynne Jones, or any of the books from my childhood that my grandmother gave me and wrote in the fronts of them.

    It’s tough though! I’m always at war with myself! I love to get people to read books I have enjoyed, and lending books is a way to make that happen. But I also get stupendously sad when I loan someone a book and they take forever to return it or they return it all scrunched up.

    • All scrunched up is the worst! Here, you’ve trusted something to someone and they haven’t shown it the same respect. It’s enough to make you scream. This is why I trawl through thrift stores so much; so I can give books I like to people I like without sacrificing my own copies for the cause.

  3. I HATE lending books. My very first post is on this exact topic. It just stresses me out. I always worry about what will happen to them or when I will get them back. And I am terrible about getting a book back in a timely manner so I would rather not borrow them.

    It used to be so bad that when someone would ask to borrow a book and I didn’t want to say no but I really didn’t want to lend it I would go out and buy them a copy. Luckily for my bank account, the people who are close to me have realized issues and just ask for recommendations but never ask to borrow the book. Everyone else…well they get creative (and not so creative) excuses about why a particular book is unavailable.

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