February 02, 2007

Gutenberg's Gifts AWOL

Why do some people borrow books and not return them. In most cases, the obligation of the loan eats the borrower and skews the balance in favour of the lender. But not so with books. I wonder why? And there is nothing I can do when the borrower happens to be Navy's boss's wife. How many times does one ask to have it back? I do not feel this way about all my books, but I do treasure some of the rare ones ( also invariably expensive ones)

I recollect I lost a Mr Mulliner hardbound at campus- I was so bugged. Polonious or rather Shakespeare was right when he said- "Neither a borrow nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend." Maybe he, and in turn we, lost a few drama scripts that way? A Midsummer Day Dream or a sequel to As you like it ?

I recollect a quote I read in school, that proclaims unabashedly- "Never lend a book for no one ever returns them The only ones in my library are those that others lent me". If i borrow books, i ensure i read them first and fast and return them.I do not press for books if I sense any reluctance on the owner's part. I understand.

Book Readers- There are some who ask you politely and revere the book as much as you do.
Book Raiders- There are others who tell you" I am taking this book "and pounce on it as a matter of right and my heart sinks in fear that I may never see that copy ever again.
Book Lovers- But then there are others who hard bind the book for you, iron out the dog ears and return it promptly after a read.

Whatever the category, I cannot refuse. Our upbringing tells us to share and multiply knowledge. So there I go lending books again.

But I diligently make notes on little post-its right in front of the borrower and keep track till they return it. And if the book is too precious I just buy them another copy , preferably a fake one if i can find it. ( yeah- i can hear you say " how cheap..." but that is ok)

16 comments:

Noodlehead said...

I feel for you....i've lost numerous books by lending them to people who, in fact, i happen to know very well! one person very shamelessly said that he'd lost it quite some time back and forgot to tell me....that was the closest I came to murder! I've learnt my lesson now - I just refuse point blank to lend a book but offer that they can come home and read it or (as you mentioned) I just buy it for them!

Noodlehead said...

I feel for you....i've lost numerous books by lending them to people who, in fact, i happen to know very well! one person very shamelessly said that he'd lost it quite some time back and forgot to tell me....that was the closest I came to murder! I've learnt my lesson now - I just refuse point blank to lend a book but offer that they can come home and read it or (as you mentioned) I just buy it for them!

Life Lover said...

these same categories apply to music as well, i learnt it the hard way when back in school i lost a favorite cassette when a music raider never returned it! :(
BTW, you've been TAGGED!!

Sunita said...

With You 100%

itchingtowrite said...

i remember making u strike off my name after returning the book to u. infact i started following ur practice of noting down

Has to be me said...

I have heard this from my someone -Never lend a book unless u r not expecting it back.

Fuzzylogic said...

I'm possessive about my books,I hate it when someone borrows it and conveniently loses it!that's the worst.Now I'm more cautious after having lost few of my favorites this way,if the book happens to be my favorite I simply refuse to part with it.I understand your sentiments on this issue strongly!

Vani said...

Hi ArtNavy! I see I have lots of posts to catch up with! I'm totally with you on this one. I have moved my collection of books into one of the bedrooms upstairs and placed it in such a way that nobody can tell there are books in them unless they stood right in front of it! It's difficult to say 'no' when people ask to borrow so I figured I'd hide them instead! :)
Hey, you once said that you knew a Vani from Mysore. I've posted my pictures on my blog. Take a look. I'm hoping that we know each other. That'd be so nice! :)

Orchid said...

Not so much with books but I have definitely expereinced this with music cds andmovie dvds.....I hear ya!

@ said...

tip: send her a link to this blog!

ps: off topic, but just wanted to say I LOVE the 'lion roaring' - nice pic, very spontaneous

starry nights said...

I have to agree with you.It really upsets me when someone borrows a book and does not return it,it has happenend so many times.I love my books too much so I am one of those people who would rather buy you a book than part with mine.Neither a borrower or a lender.

mommyof2 said...

I agree with you.

Can't you tell her that one of ur friend is been asking for a long time for that book & YOU couldn't find it in the book store either.. She might return it:-)

Sanjay said...

beautifully written. Shared knowledge is power me thinks!

apu said...

I hear you !

These days I just make excuses like, I am reading that one now (and that one too and that one :) or, I've promised it to another friend....

rads said...

tell me about it! Ive lost many a fine piece of art under the pretext of "borrowing". It's exasperating and annoying. :|

Rebus said...

Expensive books or not I only lend when I know the person is gonna care for it like I do, but seriously except for a few serious ones, a borrowed one is as good as a bought one for them, after all in their vocabulary for it, "they are done with it, so its as good as with me then them".

You buy them another copy; Zounds; I would simply visit their house for coffee and tuck it under my shirt and bring it back; hehe; and if they call; I would say, hmmphpph; "I only remember last, giving it to you"; and maybe they then buy you a copy back; even if a fake one; "Now that's cheap" ;D