Never a Borrower nor a Lender be . . .

vee_new

Several RP'ers have mentioned lending books to friends and I wonder if you have had cause to regret doing so?

I have been happy to lend books but on some occasions it hasn't proved a wise move as they have never been returned. Sometimes I have forgotten who has borrowed them so therefore I regard it as 'my fault' but once a friend asked most insistently if her small daughter could 'borrow' a book/s belonging to my daughter. These were part of a set of children's stories (The Worst Witch) made into a popular TV show.

After several weeks if not months I asked for the return of the books but . . . nothing doing. When I next brought the subject up 'friend' said they were only paperbacks so it didn't matter!

These days I am far more likely to give books away or pass them on to charity shops.

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annpanagain

I lent my D several books and a Christmas tree. She donated them all to charity! I never lend her books that I want back now...or Christmas trees either.

Karma though, she donated her library book by mistake and had to pay for it!

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masgar14

Only the ones who truly love novels return them. Once I was so attached to my books that I preferred
to buy a new copy, and give it to them, rather than give him one book of mine.
Now as I get older I have become less rigid, and I lend my books without thinking too much about it. Even if I know I never will see them again , (not all, some are still too precious for me)

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yoyobon_gw

I will only lend books to a select few friends who I know will return them as soon as they have read the book and I keep a list .

I once loaned a series of four books to my next door neighbor . I put them in a lovely tote with notes in each book to "return to Yvonne". After five years I gave her a call and asked if she had finished the series and if so could she please return them at her convenience :0) The books came back with profuse apologies for her tardiness and i learned my lesson.


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sheri_z6

I will gladly loan to my sisters and mother, they always return my books and I feel quite comfortable asking for them back. Overall, though, I've had bad luck loaning to friends. One of them tells me she is still intending to get to the book I loaned her over 5 years ago! At least she knows it's mine :) These days I try to only part with books I know I won't mind losing.

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kathy_t

For some reason, I don't really mind if I don't get a book back after lending it. If I have a book that somehow means a lot to me (like one of my mother's books, or a book that was a special gift), I don't think I'd lend it out and I'd explain why. But I can't actually recall that happening.

While visiting a friend in Colorado about 20 years ago, I started reading her copy of Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. She told me I could take it home with me. I assured her that I would just borrow it and return it at some distant time in the future. I still have it. I have reminded her several times that her book is still in my possession and she just laughs. I kind of like having it on my bookshelf because of course I think of my friend each time I notice it sitting there.

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Carolyn Newlen

I've just called my brother, sister-in-law not home, asking him to ask her if she loaned me Olive Kitteridge. I've had it since before Covid, have read it, and have no idea where it came from. I think all the books I've loaned have come home eventually except one that another s-i-l left in a motel room on the way to Florida. She was very contrite and offered to replace it, but it wasn't one I cared about keeping so I let her off the hook. My daughter and I read each other's books all the time, but she's only three blocks away if we need to chase one down. She just got the new Ian Rankin, so I hope she gets it read this week. We were fortunate to meet him once in a bookshop in London.

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Rosefolly

I think I've mentioned this before, but I like my friends even more than I like my books. For that reason, I don't lend my books.

If I lent a book to a friend, and if she did not return it, then I would not feel the same way about that person any more.

I would hate to lose a friend that way.

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aziline

I read the book Wicked long before the broadway show came out. I love it so much I lent it to my mom and then as time went on forgot.

Years later she is raving to me about a show she just saw. "Have you heard of Wicked?!?" I reminder well yes and I had lent her the book! She had no memory of it. I even went through her books the next time I visited and could't find it.

But it's just as well that she never read it. She would have hated the book just like I HATED the show.

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yoyobon_gw

Is it acceptable to throw out a really bad paperback that someone gives you to read saying , " you'll really like it " and it turns out to be insufferable ?

Asking for a friend.

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Carolyn Newlen

I'm glad to say my sister-in-law claimed ownership of Olive K. and I sent her home yesterday with my brother.

Both brothers and my sister came for lunch yesterday. One brought some sprouts from the old lilac bush at home that I had asked for and set it out for me. We had such a good day with just the four of us; it doesn't often happen that no one else is around.

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vee_new

yoyo, re your question above, I think if the pb given to you by a friend was actually yours to keep, then by all means throw it away. You can always lie to her and say "That was really an interesting/unusual book and it certainly made me think." Of course you don't need to say what you thought. If she wants it back and it's decaying on the compost heap a bigger lie might be necessary. Just don't let her notice how long your nose is growing.

Carolyn, over here 'sprouts' usually refer to the 'brussels' variety. Are your 'sprouts' what we call 'cuttings'? Twiggy bits that can be planted and will hopefully grow into plants?

How can you tell I'm not very gardening savvy?!

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donnamira

I almost never lend books anymore - too many of them have come back to me looking like they'd been through the wars. Rubbed corners, cover illustrations worn off, pages creased, wrinkled or stained, ripped dustjackets, and even crescent-shaped creases through the cover illustration on a paperback where the person held the book open with her fingernails digging into the cover. Yikes! When I'm done reading a book, it still looks new, so I expect a loaned book to come back to me in the same condition as when it left my hands.


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colleenoz

I always take care of and return books I have borrowed, and I only lend to those family and friends I know will do likewise. I do have one friend who takes a looooong time to return books, but that’s OK because every so often she apologises and offers to return them, and I say I’m not in a hurry to reread them. Eventually they come back.

Many years ago, I was visiting a friend and spotted “Watership Down” in her bookcase. I pulled it out to leaf through it, saying, “I used to have a copy of this!” intending to ask if I could borrow it. Imagine my surprise to see my name written inside the cover 😂

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Carolyn Newlen

Vee, I'm not sure what to call the lilac bits. They are new growth that come up around the old shrubs; and when you dig them, they have roots of their own. They are not like rose cuttings. I'm not much of a gardener either! I'm busy now trying to figure out how much longer I must live in order to see it bloom.

Well, inquiring minds want to know, so I Googled it. They are called suckers or shoots, and they say to plant them in the spring. The gardening site I looked at said to plant them in the fall. Good luck, little lilacs.


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astrokath

My book club doesn't involve a particular book, we just turn up and talk about what we have read. For that reason the books are often passed around, and someone will often hold one up and say 'who owns this?'

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vee_new

Confession time here! I just remembered that many years ago I borrowed a pb book of short stories from a young 'trainee' at my place of work promising to return it but shortly after he left and went I know not where. Then the whole place closed down for the holidays and I never saw him again nor did others know where he lived. I felt guilty about it . . . I still do. So "mea culpa" to that young man who's name I have forgotten.

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vee_new

Carolyn, John, he of the green fingers who's ancestor's digits were similarly coloured after years of their working at the famous Kew Gardens, tells me that lilac is usually either grafted or taken from root stock and is notorious for producing suckers. He thinks they may come 'true to type' but it might be a matter of 'wait and see'. As they are quite vigorous it might be sooner rather than later.

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annpanagain

I am having a "wait and see" with a Canna plant. Mine in the contained bed (they are a weed here if left unchecked) produce red flowers but I bought a multi coloured one and after one flowering, it seems to have gone red or disappeared. We cut the plants to ground level to pull down a fence so it is fingers crossed for the multi-coloured one to flower correctly.

The Village gardeners discourage any more planting of cannas because they are almost impossible to eradicate where they are no longer wanted. After digging down a metre the poor man may still not get to the root, so they tell me.

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vee_new

Annpan you are lucky you don't have to fight with Japanese knotweed which has become a real menace over here. Not only does it spread vigorously but it has the strength to push through cement and tarmac. It also puts people off when searching for a new house!

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Carolyn Newlen

Good knotweed story. I heard once that the only way to get rid of crabgrass is to move.

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netla

I had two traumatic book-lending experiences in my teens and early twenties and since then, I only lend books to a select few.

First I lent my uncle my copy of The Lord of the Rings. Got it back after 5 years, with the back cover torn off and the pages scuffed and bent - and he didn't even finish reading it.

Second experience: I lent a university textbook to a friend - The Norton Anthology of English Literature (the major authors) - a book I intended to keep. She used it in the course and then sold it. I grudgingly forgave her, but have never lent her another book.

Now there at only three people to whom I will lend books: my
mother, my brother and my best friend, because they all have respect
for books, treat them well and return them promptly.

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Carolyn Newlen

I had lent my beloved Heidi to a younger cousin, and it came back to me decades later after her mother died and they found it out in her wash house, pages foxed and cover sadly stained. I do have it.

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merryworld

I don't lend books, I just give them never expecting them back and am always pleasantly surprised if they return. I rarely reread books because there are too many that are on my TBR list, but at the library book sale, I found an obscure little delight, then I passed it on to a friend. A few years later I wanted to reread it, and then couldn't remember the exact title of it and it didn't come up in any Google searches. My friend had moved to Australia and I didn't bother to ask as I didn't want to put her in an awkward position. Many years later I was looking through a book catalogue and there it was. So now it's on my shelf and I still haven't reread it, but I find it comforting to know it's there.

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