I would love to be one of those people that can lend out books without having their anxiety go through the roof. Unfortunately, I have just had too many awful situations where leading out a book ended in disaster.
These are my horror stories… *insert Law and Order SVU sound effect here*
My Book Lending Horror Stories
The dog-ear fan(s)
One of my first memories of lending a book occurred in high school. I had read a book that I thought was hysterical, so of course I wanted all my friends to read it! This book made the rounds through our tiny high school. When I got it back, I was honestly a bit surprised that the dust jacket was still in such good condition. Though when I opened the book, the pages were another story… at least one of those readers, but possibly multiple, had dog-eared many of the pages. Some pages were STILL folded down. How rude!
I snack while reading all the time! While I can’t say I haven’t accidentally spilled tea or gotten food on one of my books, I can say that this has never happened with a book that I didn’t own. I once let a classmate borrow a book, and they were very clearly a messy snacker… When the book was returned to me, many of the pages were stuck together. There were crumbs stuck in the creases between the pages. One page even had a bright orange smear across it. Gross!
The smoke fiasco
I once made the horrible mistake of letting a friend borrow a book knowing full well that his parents smoked cigarettes in the house. He really enjoyed the book and returned it in great appearance condition; no dog-eared pages, no food residue, no page tears… But unfortunately the book smelled horribly of smoke. No matter what my mom and I did, we just couldn’t get the smell out of it.
The disappearing book
One afternoon years ago, I had a lovely chat with a close friend. Though we had been friends for many months by then, this was our first time talking about books. As she told me about her reading preferences, I immediately thought of a book that I had on my selves from when I attended college in NYC. Because I thought the book would be beyond perfect for her, I immediately went to get it. It was a small book, and she told me she would get it back to me by the end of the next week. But that week passed, then a month… then two, and so on. After a while I finally checked in and asked her how she liked the book. She had no memory of it. Needless to say, I never saw that book again which I was incredibly bummed about because I had many passages highlighted and marked.
The allergy attack
I once let a friend borrow a book that I had just purchased and read in the same day. I totally trusted her and knew she would read it and then immediately give it back. She did indeed give it back, but the pages had cat hair sticking out of them when it was returned. Because I am severely allergic to cats, that book went right to the donation pile.
The paint mishap
My boss and I discuss books on a pretty frequent basis. We have even started a little book club at our office! One day, I was raving about Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. Because we had seen him at Inbound that year, my boss asked to borrow it. Of course I said yes immediately! How do you say no to your boss?! (Hi Shay!!) While the book was under her care, there was a paint mishap… The fore edge of the book was totally splattered in paint and a bit warped from the moisture. When she showed me what happened I was wicked upset for a second, but incredibly relieved when she offered to buy me a new copy.
Thanks for reading!
I’d love to hear your horror stories! Feel free to leave them in the comments section below!
5 Reasons Why I Won’t Lend Out Books