Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I came across this while browsing

I've been browsing off and on over the past few days in a satisfyingly fat two-volume set: An Editor's Treasury: A Continuing Anthology of Prose, Verse, and Literary Curiosa, edited by Herbert R. Mayes (Atheneum, 1968). Each volume is nearly a thousand pages and the quotations are gathered from all subjects and sources, and are presented in no particular order that I can discern. However, one of the first entries I flipped open to was this nugget, "A Borrowed Book" by the beloved and ubiquitous Christopher Morley (p.221):

"I give hearty and humble thanks for the safe return of this book, which having endured the perils of my friend's bookcase and the bookcases of my friend's friends, now returns to me in reasonably good condition. I give hearty and humble thanks that my friend did not see fit to give this book to his infant for a plaything, nor use it as an ash tray for his burning cigar, nor as a teething ring for his mastiff. When I loaned this book, I deemed it as lost; I was resigned to the business of the long parting; I never thought to look upon its pages again. But now that my book has come back to me, I rejoice and am exceedingly glad! Bring hither the fatted morocco and let us rebind the volume and set it on the shelf of honor, for this my book was lent and is returned again. Presently, therefore, I may return some of the books that I myself have borrowed."

I am of two minds about lending books. When I lend, I always have a sinking feeling that I will never see the book again, so if possible, I set out immediately to find myself another copy, and let the book go to its new home with goodwill and no expectation of return. It's easier that way, for all concerned. Then it is a pleasant surprise if the book eventually comes back, but if it doesn't, I'm not bereft or peevish. I don't borrow books. Friends and customers try to lend me books all the time, and I always say I will instead write down the title and find my own copy. I'm afraid if someone else's book enters my home library... well, you know.

no no no silly girl...
buy extra copies and THEN lend them.
i remember breaking up with a guy and never seeing a particular book again...that Learned me. I never LEND, i just give.
I've had bad lending experiences myself-once loaned a paperback to a co-worker who put her coffee cup down on it(fortunately,it wasn't a great book but still...)and returned it to me with a big ol' coffee ring smack in the center of the front cover.

One time,I loaned one of my uncles a bunch of Stephen King paperbacks and he did bring them back. However,the spines were all bent up badly-he must've folded them back like a magazine. I try to be careful about loaning books out and if I borrow,to keep the book in good shape.
I buy extra copies of my favorite books then SELL THEM in my shop. Also, I love giving books as gifts... with a few thousand extra books laying around I can usually afford to be generous.

One of my close relatives unconsciously bends back every page in the book as she reads, and the spine afterwards is u-shaped. I feel pain, when she does this. I don't lend to her, I give. I don't want to see the book again, it's too sad.
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