I have a constantly rotating library of books. Due to my former (cough cough) addiction to buying second hand books I have a great collection of recent literature and 20th century classics with a particular focus on literature by women. I read book reviews regularly and try to stay aware of what’s good right now and what’s been good in the past. My Mum is also a voracious reader and will often lend or recommend books, as is my sister “in-law”. It might not be a particularly diverse collection, but it is a good quality collection of books.
Recently I went hunting for some books to lend to a member of my Mum’s group. I don’t really know her style yet but I do know that I have a good enough collection to have something in there that she’ll like. I realised that a lot of my favourite books are out on rotation. It makes me really happy to know that my books are read and read and read again. I have only very rarely had a book not returned, or returned so damaged it can no longer be read. It’s a risk I’m willing to take. I don’t think that a book is created to be read once then squirrelled away onto a shelf to gather dust. I never read a book twice. There are just too many wonderful books in the world to go back on one, no matter how much I’ve loved it. Passing it on to others is the perfect way of giving that book life over and over again.
Sometimes my books make it very far away. A friend will lend them to a family member or another friend. Even though this does make me feel a little anxious at times, I also recognise that it’s a good thing. It is a way of someone new being introduced to an author or a story that I’ve loved.
I’m not sure that the authors of these books would like to know that one purchase is being read by seven, eight, nine, sometimes ten people. I guess they’d like to sell ten copies of the books instead. Ecologically, this system makes buying books worth my while and it means I get to share the special place these stories create in my heart and mind with many other people.
Do you lend your books? Do you have a particular person you borrow your books from? I find it really interesting hearing how others feel about this issue, because I’ve found most people to be either very passionately for or against lending their books to others.
PS For those who wanted to know how I went with my book voucher dilemma – I bought Light Between the Oceans and NW. I have leant them out already without reading them. I’ve been sadly stuck on Gone With the WInd since NOVEMBER. It’s beginning to drive me crazy. I can’t think of a time a book has taken me this long. Going back to work and having a non-sleeping now toddler gives me very little reading time. Can’t wait for the school holidays to rediscover my reading self.
PPS I have broken my book embargo already – I bought Roald Dahl’s Switch Bitch from an op shop on Friday for BP. I also have plans to buy two books for Little Fearse for her birthday with our remaining voucher. I’m getting this and this. How can I resist?!