Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender....?

What I'm reading: Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase

Note: this is very much out of the norm for me, but it's being snarkily reviewed at Smart Bitches by their newest (male) reviewer, and his comments were enough to send me to the e-book store for a download. Having finished the last of the Jack Reacher books, I figured I might as well go to the opposite end of the spectrum for a bit.

First: This blog is best viewed in Firefox, which is a free download. IE has been having problems. If things don't look right, try it in Firefox.

Next -- Welcome to Katie & Lisa, my newest followers. So glad you're here.

And on with today's topic:

We usually hit Panera on Sunday mornings, often catching up with a former colleague of my husband and his wife. One week, she was out of town, but her husband was there, and he returned a book his wife had borrowed, saying she made a point that he was to bring it with him. And this wasn't some 'had it for months' book, but one I thought she'd enjoy. I told her 'no hurry.' Some people are driven to return things in a timely fashion. Some aren't. Within a couple of days, I got an email from another friend about book borrowing. Given the synchronicity, I figured a blog topic was in order.

Do you lend books? If you do, do you make sure your name is in them? Perhaps on a bookplate reading ex libris (which, according to some, means "liberated from the library of"). Do you keep a list of who has what? I'll admit to being of the same bent as my friend, so I normally read a borrowed book immediately and return it as soon as I'm finished. I may scribble my name on the inside cover, but I've never kept a spreadsheet of outstanding loans. However, book hoarders seem to have been around a long time, judging from the following quotes:

Keep Reading...

He who lends a book is an idiot. He who returns the book is more of an idiot. — Anonymous, Arabic Proverb

Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folks have lent me. — Anatole FRANCE (1844-1924)

Great collections of books are subject to certain accidents besides the damp, the worms, and the rats; one not less common is that of the borrowers, not to say a word of the purloiners. - Isaac D'Israeli, Curiosities of Literature--The Bibliomania

Borrowers of books --those mutilators of collections, spoilers of the symmetry of shelves, and creators of odd volumes. Charles Lamb

Henny Youngman once said: "I have 2,000 books and no bookcase. No one will loan me a bookcase."

And, since you undoubtedly can't read the poster illustrating this post, here's what it says:

A Curse Against Book Stealers

For him that stealeth a book from this library, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy and all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain crying aloud for mercy and let there be no surcease to his agony till he sink to dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his final punishment, let the flames of hell consume him for ever and aye. Monastery of San Pedro, Barcelona (date unknown)..... Now that's one hell of a curse to accompany one's ex libris.


Jess said...

I don't mind lending out long as whomever borrows them doesn't crack the spine by mashing the book open, or roll the covers back so that they're forever out of shape. If a book of mine has a noticeably worn spine, I want it to be because _I've_ read it a kazillion times, not because someone doesn't care for books. Ok, and I'm picky. :)

Terry Odell said...

Picky? You?

Ray said...

I am just as picky as Jess. I won't loan a book to anyone who has ever returned on in less than pristine condition even if I've already read it. I have had someone ask if they could look at a book I am reading and seen them bend the cover back and had severe words that definitely included put the book down and don't ever ask again.

I just finished reading Suzanne Brockmann's DARK OF NIGHT. When I got around page 120 I saw that for the next sixty or seventy pages the pages were in reverse order. Not in exact reverse, but I had to check each number to know which to read. I struggled through all those pages because the books store was closed. I then went back the next day and traded for a good copy. I told customer service that I bought the book to keep and I wanted a new one.

The only time I ever gave any books away other than returning from overseas was to give a box full of books to a woman going to Iraq.


Terry Odell said...

Ray, Suzanne had a 'warning' about the printing glitch up on her website. Luckily, the publisher caught it in time to print another run, but not before books had been shipped with the errors. She did recommend checking and said the bookstores would be replacing them without much hassle. Sounds like the bookstore didn't give you a hard time, which is good.

Ray said...

I was going to say something like I wish I had known that. I started thinking and I did read that, but didn't pay much attention at the time. I would have thought all the first printing would have been gone and not intermingled with the new one at the same store.

Had there been no remedy I would have kept the one I had. Even if I never reread a book I feel that if I keep a book the characters remain my friends.


Jenyfer Matthews said...

I read Lord of Scoundrels over the summer and *loved* it.

I am careful about who I loan book to - I want to know they will be handled with care and returned promptly.

I admit that I was recently loaned a book and it has sustained some minor damage - a water bottle in my bag leaked a bit on the cover (hardcover). I will replace the book for the owner, but the thing that bothers me most about the episode is that my reputation as an upstanding book borrower will forever be besmirched :(