I never lend books. I've never been able to find anyone who takes care of them as well (neurotically) as I do, so I am always sad when they are returned because inevitably the corners are smushed or the spine is cracked. But the other week one of best friends asked for books for hospital. Couldn't say no. (Originally at http://tinyurl.com/zjro9jy)
  1. I have to like the person asking very much.
  2. The person asking has to understand what books mean to me as physical objects.
    They have to be willing to at least *try* to be careful.
  3. I have to have read and liked the books.
    I have a reputation to maintain as Someone Who Knows About Books. I can't risk that on hearsay.
  4. The book should be, if possible, a little worn already.
    Usually this means I bought the book at a second hand bookshop. That way I either won't notice a little scuffing or know for sure if it was there before. So I can't blame the person if it is a little damaged when it is returned, or get irritated with myself for being so precious and selfish about what are, after all, just objects. I don't like this about myself. I want to be generous. I want to share my joy about good books. But man, it is hard. Impossible, even.
  5. If possible, it should be a spare.
    Luckily, I had spares of both The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P and Come to the Edge - the latter even has the tiniest coffee stain on it (hence its being spare). I've read and loved both - they couldn't be more different, aside from their Brown connections - so I'm happy to share them. I think. I'll keep you posted on my growth as a person...