I learned the hard way that lending books is never a good idea. It’s fun to recommend your friends and family books, but leave it at that. I’ve lent my books on 3 separate occasions and it has never ended well.
I know what you’re thinking, “I love when I recommend a book to someone and they actually read it!” It’s satisfying to know someone took your recommendation to heart. But, tell them to get it from the library or buy it. Because every time you lend a book, one of two things happen: 1) You never get it back, or 2) you get it back ruined. This always happens for this reason: other people don’t love books the way you do. They don’t understand how important your books are to you. Especially ones you recommend. I mean, those are the best ones, right? You wouldn’t recommend a bad book, now would you?
Let’s get to my stories, shall we?
Incident #1: A Valley of Betrayal by Tricia Goyer
When I was in high school, I lent this book to a good friend of mine after I finished reading it myself. She kept it for a few weeks, and finally brought it back to me, UNREAD, saying she didn’t have the time to read it. And the worst part? The cover was creased and the edges were scuffed.
No big deal, you say? I beg to differ. I was very upset, for it was a favorite of mine at the time.
Incident #2: Even Now/Ever After by Karen Kingsbury
One of my close friends in college was reading a series written by Karen Kingsbury, so we were discussing her book one day. I mentioned that I had a two-in-one book by the author, and she asked to borrow it. She kept it for OVER A YEAR, and when graduation was quickly approaching and the book was nowhere to be seen, I asked for her to return it to me. Several times. I finally got it back, again UNREAD. And the cover was creased. Sad day.
Incident #3: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
This incident is by far the worst. Jane Eyre is my favorite classic. I have read it several times, and even got a special edition of it recently (so nice, a hardback cover with fancy artwork, see here). I lent this book (the copy pictured above, not the nice one) to my mother, of all people. Did she read it? Yes, she did! I was very happy about this. However, I was not happy about the condition in which she returned it. You see, she read the book TO DEATH. Literally. The book was no longer attached to the cover. A very large portion of the pages where completely DETACHED from the spine. Very sad day. (This is my mom. (no hard feelings, Mom. I love you.))
So, let’s review.
I have had three experiences in which I have lent a book to someone and it has not come back to me in the same condition. Granted, I got the books back, but it is painful to see your books look as if they have been abused and neglected.
The moral of the story?
Learn from my experience. Recommend, don’t lend.