Today I’d like to expand on that, because frankly I’m astounded how many people have zero book-borrowing etiquette (before you ask – yes, I take this sh#t way too seriously) and I think it deserves its own rant.
Let me say this first, though. I love loaning people books, because I buy books compulsively, I have loads of them, and I actually get REALLY REALLY excited about handing you a book I know you’ll love once you crack it open.
There are some soulless people in this world who don’t know how to take care of a book. If they’re your own books, that’s fine (I’m still going to twitch and convulse a little bit when I see you bend a cover backwards, but since you own that book it is, ostensibly, okay for you to do that) but if you’ve borrowed one of my books and you treat it with all the reverence you would show to half-eaten taco you fished out of a dumpster… THEN we have a problem.
So here they are – the seven things you should NEVER EVER EVER DO to a book you’ve borrowed from me, or really anybody else:
The Seven Deadly Sins of Book-Borrowing:
Things You Should Never Do to My Books, For Any Reason
- Write in the margins, underline, highlight, or doodle. Seriously, who the heck does this to something that’s not theirs? Is it cool if I whip out a permanent marker and scribble my thoughts on your shirt? No? Okay, then don’t violate my book with your dirty chicken scratch. If you must make a note, use a Post-It. [The only time it’s acceptable to write in a book is if you’re giving it to me as a gift and write a note in the cover. That makes a book more special, and frankly, I love knowing that you picked it out with me in mind.]
- Dog-ear the pages. NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU SMOOTH IT DOWN, IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN. You’ve crippled my beautiful book. Every time you bend a page, I bend one of your fingers backwards. Seriously, buy a bookmark. Or use a receipt, or a note card, or a ticket stub – YOU CAN USE LITERALLY ANYTHING FLAT AS A BOOKMARK. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE.
- Bend the covers back. You know why I hate this? Because eventually it makes the covers tear off. So don’t do it.
- Spill things. Coffee, tea, chocolate, mashed potatoes, blood, I’ve seen it all. Maybe just don’t eat on or near my book. You learn as a child to eat without making a mess. Learn to read a book without defiling it. Those flippy things in the middle with words all over them? They’re not napkins.
- Take forever to return it. If you’re going to borrow a book, read it and then give it back. Every week you keep it after a month I charge you interest. I’m still waiting on a copy of Fight Club I lent out as a senior in high school.
- Loan it to someone else. Dude. This is the worst. I trust you, but I may not trust your friends. I don’t even know them. Don’t give them my stuff, especially without asking or telling me. Simple as that.
- Lose it. If I loan you a book and you lose it, you should buy me a new one. This actually makes me really sad. If you lose a book that’s not yours and don’t even offer to replace it,what does that say about you as a person? Nothing good, I promise.
There you have it. Maybe I’m overly protective, but when I buy a book I cherish it. I like to keep it looking new as long as I can. I want you to read, I want to share my books with you, but I also want you to treat them as carefully as I do.
So, if ever you borrow a book from me, bear that mind.