Reader's Exchange

Relatively cheap thrills

With regard to personal book collections, librarians fall into two camps: the "Need to own because I love them" faction and the "I work at a library, for heaven's sake!" cadre--that's my group.  A veteran of numerous relocations, I mentally calculate weight and space requirements for every volume I encounter.

Still, I make exceptions to the borrow-not-buy policy without regret.  Owning copies that you can lend is wonderfully empowering.  You can deliver something fabulous to another reader without having gone to all the trouble of writing or publishing.  I recently loaned out my copies of Nick Bantock's original Griffin and Sabine trilogy to a co-worker and am enjoying his appreciation of those elaborate letters, stamps, and postcards far more than I deserve to.  

Penny Vincenzi's Spoils of Time trilogy further demonstrated to me that acquiring a whole set of something is a fundamental human need (also that investing in books pays off in the long run).  I sent the first book, No Angel, home with my mother after her Christmas visit, figuring that she would revel in the gossipy family saga with British historical setting as much as I did.  It's a lengthy tome, and I planned to offer the other two if that prediction proved correct.  I neglected to follow up, though, and later Mom mentioned that she'd gone to great lengths to find and purchase them.  I inherited the Thrift Gene from the previous generation so view that move as the ultimate compliment for Ms. Vincenzi. 

In the future, then, I will always package sets together.  At present, I am contemplating the thrill of buying Richard Russo's new book.  The "I don't want to rush so someone else can check it out" impulse and the Thrift Gene are deadlocked over this one.

Comments

kimberly said:

I am the opposite of you when it comes to lending books. The books I buy new I try and keep in pristine condition (I *do* read them - a lot! I just don't crack the spine or bend the pages or anything like that). If I loaned them out, they would be returned to me in a much less satisfactory condition than they started.  Horrible, I know - after all "Books are for use" - but I can't help it.

# August 6, 2009 7:52 PM

Will Hampton said:

How generous of you, Linda. I tend to me like kimberly -- loathe to lend them. However, I usually welcome the opportunity to borrow someone else's book.

Confession: I was loaned a book that the owner absolutely, positively did not want to lend to me but did when I promised to return it. It's been at least 20 years ago, but I still regret not giving it back. The book has long since been lost, and I couldn't tell you the name of the lender (giver?).

That said, just last month I did lend my treasured copy (borrowed/taken from my mom) of "Golf in the Kingdom" to a good friend who now needs a 12 Step Program if he's going to quit playing golf. Will I be OK if he doesn't give it back? Yeah, it'll be just a little old fashioned karma comin' down.

# August 10, 2009 5:57 PM
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