Confessions of a hesitant book lender

I don’t like to lend out my books. I don’t believe that makes me a terrible person but it isn’t something I’m wildly proud of.

When I was 12 I lent out a book to my bestie who (when I asked for it back) told me she’d lent it to a friend of hers. I know it has been almost 2 decades but I still feel mild flutterings of panic for my Sweet Valley Twins book that was lent out without my permission.

Yes I got it back and the friendship continued smoothly. I’m not THAT awful. But fast forward to adulthood and I’m a very hesitant book lender. One time a work friend e-mailed me asking nicely for a book and hinted heavily at my prized Marian Keyes collection. Mustering up every shred of goodwill I lent her a book (by another author) which I found in a bargain box at a book sale. And even then only because I didn’t like that particular book.

An aunt of mine regularly borrows books and returns them in pristine condition. I once lent her a book I hadn’t read yet (proof I can be generous) and she returned it in a condition that had me questioning if she had actually read it. She looks after things – a characteristic I’ve found not everyone possesses.

Last November (against my better judgement) I lent books to a friend’s boyfriend who promised to look after them. It is now over 9 months and I haven’t heard a hint of getting my books back. My e-mail asking politely to return them has been conveniently ignored. I find it difficult to comprehend the mentality of asking someone to lend you something and then just never returning it.  Do you think after a certain amount of time I’ll forget who I lent it to? Do you assume ignoring my e-mails will ensure I’ll just give up asking?  Am I supposed to feel embarrassed because I keep asking for something that is rightfully mine?

I have no doubt he has lost the books and ignoring the issue is the way he chooses to deal with it.

The cost to replace this will be around R300 but it isn’t just the monetary value. It is the way some people have no respect for a bookworm’s property.

Have you had a similar situation? How did you deal with it? 


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