No, you can’t return me. What I mean is that I have the same problem that many avid readers have: I love to share good reading with others. It isn’t unusual that when I’ve finished something good, I want to share it with someone. Usually that first comes in the form of an email to the person or persons who I most think might be interested.
If it’s really good, there’s a very good possibility that my wife has heard bits and pieces of it as I read. I remember when I first began learning of all the evils of Abraham Lincoln, I’d nearly bombard her with the new information I’d learned. Most of the time she gives me the very wifely courtesy of a “uh-mmm, that’s interesting dear.” I generally don’t stop until I see that she isn’t getting equally excited about the information.
If my good reader friends happen to be close by-generally someone who I either work with or go to church with-then I do what many readers do-I loan the book to them. It feels good to loan out something you think someone else might get some enjoyment out of. Some of my dearest friends have even received loaner books from me via mail. Of course, I probably SHOULD ask them if they’re interested…after all, they end up paying return postage.
But, beyond my good friends, I have a tendency to run into problems having my books returned to me. Right off the top of my head, I know that Johnny Got His Gun, and Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics are out with the loanees and are crying to return home. Both have been gone for more than a year.
So, what’s a book loaner to do?
I have another friend (which I currently have on loan FROM him, one book and two dvds) who maintains a “library list” of sorts. I’ve considered that…and even tried it, but I can’t maintain the list. I never can seem to find it when I want or need it.
I have another friend who will never loan his books. He says he’ll recommend it, and then tell the recommendee to go get it from the library. I find this to be a good idea, too, because I try to be a big supporter of publicly funded local libraries (Hi Gay and crew!).
Yes, now you see the dilemma.
Despite these two good ideas, I probably continue to loan out books…I’ll just try to stay away from loaning the books I “really love.”
But where’s the fun in that?