In Memory Of Lost Books

I love lending books out. I do. I want to share all my books all the time and am always letting friends borrow them. When I was little, I would make “sign-out” sheets/library card like things to put in my books for those who borrowed them. “Those who borrowed them” refers to my sister…because I made her borrow them so that I could play library. Moving ON.

I have ONE tiny fear now when I lend books because it has happened quite a few times. For some, it might be that they are afraid that the person borrowing the book won’t treat it with the love and care that it deserves. I do not have that fear because I do things that make you cringe. BUT, I don’t treat OTHER people’s books like that. My problem: the fear of never getting them back. EVER.

Full confession before I move on: I have borrowed (am still borrowing — sorry Estelle!) a book on occasion for an embarrassing amount of time before reading. I’m a mood reader so I have to be IN the mood for a particular book and so sometimes it’s been months before I get around to reading it. BUT I WOULD NEVER KEEP A BOOK. (Except this one accidental time where I borrowed a book from a blogger friend and then I moved and it was still at my stepdad’s and then I sucked at going to the post office so I’m pretty sure she thought she was never getting it back. Sorry Mel!)

I’m not talking about people who might take a book for an extended amount of time. NOPE. I’m talking about books where it has been YEARS that I know I’m never going to get back. EVER. It’s even worse because I don’t KEEP books that weren’t favorites so I mourn it even harder.

I feel the need to pay tribute to these books and mourn them properly. If you have lost books, please feel free to mourn with me in the comments.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak



Here lies my copy of The Book Thief. It contained many, many shed tears on its pages when I read it many years ago. We had a good run, this book and I, but it came to its demise when I lent it to a friend who later lent it to another friend. That was in 2007. I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU AND HOW YOU MADE ME GO THROUGH A WHOLE ROLL OF BOX OF TISSUES AND MADE ME CRY SO HARD THAT I HAD LOTS OF SNOT BUBBLES.


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Here lies my copy of The Hunger Games. My friend was trying to get her husband to read it before the movie came out and I excitedly lent him my copy and that was the last day I saw it. I’m not sure he ever ended up reading the series. May you rest in peace and I will never forget the page-turning night I spent reading you. Luckily I found a a paperback version of you when Borders was going out of business. It’s not the same because you are irreplaceable.

Paper Towns & Looking For Alaska by John Green

Here lies my copies of Paper Towns & Looking For Alaska. Double sob. You were the start of a beautiful friendship when a co-worker at work discovered I liked to read. She praised Perks of Being A  Wallflower, one of my favorites, and then I immediately brought her these two books to read knowing she would love them. Before she was able to return them, she got laid off from the company and I never saw her again…or these books. Rest in peace, favorite books. I replaced you so I could get you signed in what was The Best Day Ever.

Prodigy by Marie Lu

Here lies my copy of Prodigy. I never got to turn your beautiful pages for, you see, I lent you to my teenage nephews whom I got into the series and they COULD NOT WAIT to get their hands on you. But they did what teenage boys do and they lost it in their abyss of their room, their lockers or their backpacks and I for one am NOT brave enough to try and find it. Rest in peace, Prodigy, for I borrowed you from the library so I could see what you held inside.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson


Here lies my copy of The Sky Is Everywhere — one of the most beautiful books ever. I lent you to my youngest sister and you are nowhere to be found when I asked her about it. I think your fate was at the hand of one of her friends. Hopefully you were loved and enjoyed.

Refreshments, in the form of cupcakes and beer, will be served at my house for all those who came to mourn with me today.

Do you loan out your books or no? Do you have any books you’d like to mourn today? LET IT OUT!!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. “because I made her borrow them so that I could play library.”

    This made me laugh after tonight’s Glee episode started. POINTS FOR THAT because I didn’t think I had any laughter in me.

    But yes to this post. I’ve lost so many books to lending them out. And man you’ve lost some great ones.

  2. Seriously. How do you come up with this stuff? Your creativity astounds me!

    But back on topic… YES, this has happened to me many times. I lent out my copy of White Oleander to a coworker, who quit a few weeks later and was never seen again, nor was my copy of the book. I also lent my copy of The Poisonwood Bible to a friend, and we had a MASSIVE falling-out shortly thereafter and I never saw her, or my book, again.

    Actually, that reminds me that I have yet to replace The Poisonwood Bible — just had to check my bookshelves to see whether I actually own a copy of these books!

  3. Lost my Catching Fire Book, don’t even remember who I lent it to, but today I got a free copy from my college! Just in time to read it before the movie comes out.

  4. That’s horrible! Since I’m super picky when it comes to lending out my books, I’ve never lost one, and if I were you, I would never do it again!
    God, this will give me nightmares.

  5. I’d say there are maybe two trusted people I lend books to. I’d probably kill them if they then lent them to a friend! I also used to have a book where I would record who had borrowed what, on what date etc. Then I gave up haha.

  6. Oh no! So many good books. This post made me so sad for you. This one time I borrowed a book from my friend at the end of 7th grade and didn’t return it until the beginning of 10th grade. On top of the great length of time I had the book I forgot to take the dust jacket off when throwing it in my school bag and ended up roughing it up quite a bit. It was the worst thing I have ever done to a borrowed book and still regret treating someone else’s property that way. I did however, eventually return the book and offered to buy her a new one several times since then. I would never just not return a book. This is also why I’m a little wary about lending out books to people. Maybe by some miracle you’ll get your books back again.

  7. This post is hilarious! I DO NOT lend books to anyone except my husband. But I think that he’s afraid to read my books because I hate it when the spine is creased. It angers me. I usually only buy books that I’ve already read because I love them so much and want to reread them, so if it’s in my collection, it’s because it’s destined to be there. I can read a book a hundred times and it will still look new. No one else will treat my books like that so they are totally off limits.

    Although, I love the thought of playing library. I never thought about that when I was younger. haha!

  8. Oh, I know your pain Jamie. All too well.
    I lent a friend of mine multiple books at once. (That was my first mistake. I normally don’t even let people borrow ONE book.) In her time of moving, my copies of The Fault in Our Stars, Pride & Prejudice (I hadn’t even read it yet!), and the first 3 books in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series went missing. She said she was going to buy me new copies, but considering I never see her anymore…sigh.
    I’ll be over in 15 minutes for that beer.

  9. I don’t lend a lot of books at the moment because most of what I read is on my Kindle but I have lost a few books over the years. It so awkward to ask for them back, and sometimes you don’t don’t even see the person anymore. Oh well. Cupcakes sound great.

  10. I do lend books…and I’ve gotten burned SO many times! This summer I loaned Grave Mercy (signed!!!) and Dark Triumph to a coworker for his wife…then he got fired. I’ll never see them again. :'( I’ve been missing Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and A Thread of Grace since high school…so seven years! And I remember precisely which former classmate borrowed them, but it feels a little strange to ask her to return them now…haha. I’ve currently got books lent out to four other people (and of course, they’re all favorites of mine – Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Something Like Normal, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, etc.), but I still have hope that I’ll get those back eventually. *Eats a cupcake in memory of all the poor, defenseless books lost*

  11. EEEK that’s so many good books to mourn! THE BOOK THIEF? Looking for Alaska? They deserve a proper mourning for sure.
    I’m kinda stingy with my books, so this doesn’t happen to me very often. I really only lend to people I TRUST TRUST–which means there are about 5 people on the “Stormy’s Book Lending Program”. (Also, I totally played library when I was little, and I would keep a spreadsheet of people who borrowed books & their due dates, and I also catalogued and numbered all my books), and those few people have all treated my books very well.

    I also have an agreement with book borrowers that I have a “You break it, you buy it policy”. You break my book/damage it/lose it? You replace it. Just politeness. Sometimes I joke with my friends that I’m going to make them sign a written contract before they borrow a book, but I’m really only half-joking. It seems like such a good idea sometimes, but also makes me seem kinda crazy, so. . . holding off on that for now, haha!

  12. That’s my fear too! So as much as possible I really don’t lend my books unless I trust the borrower.

  13. I have no need to mourn my lost books but I think I caused some book-mourning. I tend to accidentally keep books that I borrowed (I’m such a bad person) but I don’t think anyone has ever forced me to mourn my books. I do forsee that my copy of Reboot might never be returned so we can pre-mourn for it. May all your books be happy, wherever they are! 🙂

  14. Great post! I’ve lost several books due to lending, but the strangest one is when I lost my copy of The Virgin Suicides while on a plane trip. It was a really short flight so I decided to just pack it in my bag instead of carrying it on the plane. I remember very clearly putting it in a zipper pouch on the outside of the bag. When I got home and opened the zipper, IT WAS GONE. The only thing I can think of is that some poor luggage handler at the airport desperately needed a book and stole it. To this day I still haven’t read the end of The Virgin Suicides!

  15. When I was ten I loaned my cousin Baby-sitters Club Super Special #1. I was super excited because a lot of my friends then didn’t like to read and I thought it was the beginning of us talking about books all the time. Then she lost it and when my mom took me to get a new copy because she was tired of my bitching about it the only one at the store had a wrinkled spine. The fact that this happened 22 years ago and I remember it so well definitely says SOMETHING about me . . .

  16. I have a digital and a print copy of The Sky is Everywhere – it’s such a good book. And Marie Lu’s trilogy are at or near the top of my favorite dystopian reads.

  17. I have “lost” more books than I care to think about, from lending them to friends. One friend messaged me last summer asking if the copy she had just found of the first three Georgia Nicholson books was mine. I loaned it to her when we were about 11/12. I am 22 now. There are books I loaned out as a child which I have not seen since which I still remember… but sadly, they are long, LONG gone.

    To go back to the point you made about some people not returning books in the same condition… Only last week I had the most horrific experience. A friend on my University course loaned me her (pristine) copy of “The Stinky Cheese Man”. I had been wanting to read it, and figured that I could return it the following morning. I was reluctant to buy my own copy, since it is so small… So, on my way home, the heavens opened and the most horrendous storm begins. Of course, my umbrella breaks AND I had no coat. So now, I’m trying desperately to keep this book dry. It was in my bag… my fabric bag. By the time I got home (my grocery bags splitting in the process, in the wet street), VERY wet, I open my bag to discover that everything is destroyed: my Uni notes, her book, my Kindle… I spent the following day traipsing around every single bookstore in Dublin trying to get hold of a new copy, so that I didn’t have to return the damaged book! 🙁

  18. Your posts always make me laugh – I love it! I recently had to sign up to follow you by email because I did not want to miss ANY of your posts! 🙂 RIP, little books. You have been missed.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  19. I have so many books that are never returned to me but I still lend them out because I keep telling myself they will come back.

  20. I have quite a few books out in the wild, and I am not 100% sure on all their whereabouts, haha. It’s OK though. I know I am not always the best at reading a book as soon as it lands in my hands, so I don’t expect others to do the same.

    Now I’m wondering if I have any of yours? haha I don’t think so. Do I???

  21. My bff borrows my books all the time, but she’s super slow on getting to anything. I do eventually get them back…a year later.

    Honestly, I think lending out books is how I justify buying more books – there are holes in my bookshelf to fill! Of course, if/when the books come back, I might have a problem…

  22. I treat loaning books like most people treat loaning money: I only do it to super special people and I only do it if I can live with never getting the book back. I learned my lesson when my mom’s best friend borrowed my copy of Middlesex and I never got it back. Fortunately I found it for $1 at a used book store a few weeks ago so I’m not as bitter! Books are weird because I think a lot of people don’t understand that you WANT it back. I don’t understand that AT ALL! I guess we’re just special book people.

    • I also loaned out Middlesex and did not get it back….for SEVEN YEARS. Then, that friend joined the Air Force, and somehow found the book when shipping out to basic despite the fact that he had moved 5 times since I lent it to him.

  23. Hahaha, Jamie, your posts are always SO MUCH FUN. I was giggling as I was reading this, but I was also literally mourning the loss of these books with you! My favorite books are like my CHILDREN. That’s the only thing that I really “collect,” so I freak out if I have so much as a page folded or a food smudge on one of them. It’s ok, I KNOW I’m crazy. 😉

    Poor books, lost and alone. Hopefully they have found a good and loving home that will take care of them 🙂

  24. I only lend books to others in my family (since we live in the same house and I can take it back at any time) and to my BFF, who is super responsible and would never ever lose my book/”destroy” my book/lend it to someone else (and even if something were to happen to it, she’s the kind of person who would buy a new one to replace the one she lost). I have a notebook that keeps track of books I’ve lent to people, when I lent it to them, and when I got it back (that way I can estimate how long each person will borrow my book for).

    Long comment over. 😉

  25. *moment of silence* Poor lost books, I hope they are at peace.

    While its super annoying when you lend out a book you love and never see it again, I try and think of it as good book karma or something and at least the author is getting something out of it when I buy another copy, sometimes 2.* I’ve probably replaced Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman 4 times now (it’s officially getting annoying.) Other frequent replacements include The Night Circus, Eleanor and Park and the Newsflesh Trilogy. The only books I am rabid about getting back, to the point I don’t even lend them out anymore are my Harry Potters. They’re all hardcover first editions and with the exception of the first 2, all bought at midnight release parties and I consider them irreplaceable and am slightly crazy about it.

    *Disclaimer: I am terrible with money.

  26. We will mourn your lost books. I hate it when things like that happen. ;P

  27. Oh no! 🙁 That stinks! Be sure that we will have a moment of silence for your books.

  28. I’m a book miser. I only let certain people borrow my books because I know they’ll treat them well. And, there are some books, usually my signed ones and Harry Potter, that I will not let anyone borrow at all. I have separation anxiety with them, lol.

    Sorry you lost your books. Now I don’t want to let anyone borrow my books after your stories, lol.

  29. Oh man! So many to mourn! I confess…. I rarely lend my books. Unless it’s someone I know won’t manhandle or lose it. Or if it’s a book of mine that’s already been mandhandled, then I don’t worry as much. But I’m very particular because I hate having books returned to me all destroyed! And losing books is the WORST. The last book I loaned a friend I was super wary because she was taking it with her on vacation to Hawaii (I had images of it being washed away on the beach or forgotten there). It was totally returned to me in one piece though! SO for people that have a good track record with me, I’m totally ok with it!

    • I never would have worried specifically about a friend taking a borrowed book on vacation, then my college roommate took my copy of Perfume to Costa Rica and got all her luggage robbed from her car. I know that she had it much worse – she lost a lot of her stuff, but I had lent that particular book to 6 people and was emotionally attached to the circle of friends that had shared it. Sad day…

  30. I played library with my sister and neighbor too! (We loved getting our hands on our neighbor’s books because they were sluttier than ours.)

  31. I once had a copy of Looking for Alaska and can’t find it anymore. I remember loving it, so I know I wouldn’t have given it away! That and The Secret Life of Bees … I’ve wanted to reread that one, but again. Lost.

  32. I too have lost these books to Death:
    Epic fail by Claire LaZebnik – borrower is in Canada now

    The Fault in our stars by John Green – i loved it so I lent it to my cousin (big mistake) and now he can’t find it. He. Must. Pay.

    Between shades of gray by Ruta Sepetys – this book was so deep it almost made me cry. Almost. Those story was raw and now it’s in God knows where. Borrower is in med school now.

  33. I know how you feel! When I was younger I wouldn’t let my little sister borrow any of my Harry Potter books, so we had duplicate sets of HP books 1-4. You would think I regret this…but I don’t. 🙂

  34. I lost several books just within the last year, to the same person. I let her borrow a lot of my books the past few years, since our interests were similar. However, she would never give them back, even if she had finished reading them. Eventually I got most of them back, but she gave away the rest, including Pushing the Limits and my signed copy of Bloody Valentine. Not to mention, several of the books I got back still need to be replaced because they were so abused and the covers were no longer pretty. There may be more that were lost to her, but I can’t (or don’t want to) remember.

  35. Anne Consolacion says:

    This is a cute post. Thanks for sharing your lost books. I’ve had my share of lost books too and in more that one occasion bought another copy because I wanted the book back in my shelf. 🙂

  36. This made me giggle, but also internally sniffle sadly for the lost books. I’ve had that happen three times, and those experiences are why I do NOT loan out books I want to keep. If it’s one I don’t really care about re-reading, yeah I’ll loan it out. But I drew the line when I was walking past a friend’s car at my old job once and saw a book I loaned her TRASHED in her passenger seat – it looked like it had been through a paper shredder. SOB SOB SOB. I was too mad to say anything, but I decided then and there (this was the third time I’d realized I wasn’t getting a book back)…never again.

  37. Luckily, I’ve never had this, since I hardly ever let other people borrow my books; only to my sisters (who’ve both safely returned everything they borrowed) and my best friend who loves books probably as much as I do and I know she will take good care of books (even more than I do actually). I also don’t like to borrow other people’s books, because I don’t take good care of my own books that much (I crack the spines, etc) and I am really scared I might do that to other people’s books as well.. But luckily, people trust me enough to let me borrow their books, yay!

  38. I feel for you Jamie, I do! I can only think of two books I never got back, but they’re good ones. Or at least I think Anna Dressed in Blood will be good. I bought it for my spooky read last Halloween and it was immediately confiscated by my sister. I never even opened it. *sob*

    And in high school, my mom loaned my copy of The Great Hunt to her boyfriend, then broke up with him. How is that fair?

  39. I’m ashamed to say that I laughed at the “snot bubbles” and the “playing library” parts. *oops*
    I once lent a book was to a high school class mate and it was the Harry Potter series. I got them back, but I never thought to check them to see if they were in perfect condition or at least just as I left them. Years later, when I did a reread of the series I discovered that my dear class mate (may she hit her foot in the leg of a wooden chair) drew doodles on the first page of one of the books. With a pen. A blue pen that I cannot erase without damaging the front page. Granted, that front page has nothing but the title and the author BUT STILL!! Oh, and I had another book that I lent out to a girl from college that came back to me with a HUGE round imprint (and stains) on the cover – I guess they didn’t have coasters? Though honestly, you get them for free at a bar when you order a drink, but maybe that’s just me. So I don’t think I’ll ever lend books to non-book blogger peeps ever again. I figure us book bloggers love books and cherish them and won’t treat them with so much disrespect.
    The only people that are allowed to touch my books are my parents – they know how to treat books.

  40. I never have this problem for two reasons. 1. I don’t know anyone who reads. 2. I don’t lend my books to others. I’m far too careful with my books and I don’t think I could stand losing them to someone else!

  41. I loan books out, but only to people that I know will give them back to me in a reasonable amount of time and in the original condition. There are whom I love dearly but I KNOW a loaned book would come back stained or dogearred or otherwise damaged, or that the book would become lost and forgotten and never find its way back to me. I think you can tell the chances of getting a book back (in good condition) by how people treat their own books/belongings.

  42. OMG I feel your pain! I lent my aunt three of my Sarah Dessen books, all the books in The Summer Series by Jenny Han, and a few others and that was OVER TWO YEARS AGO. I still don’t have them back 🙁 The worst part is, I don’t even know how to ask for them back either, lol. But I will not lend people books any more except to my best friend who always returns them in good condition like a week after she’s borrowed them! 🙂

  43. Such an awesome post – you had me laughing at the beginning with how you used to make your sister play library!! LOL

    I have to mourn my first copy of Tempt the Stars by Karen Chance. Ever since losing that book I don’t loan to friends anymore. Unless it’s an ebook or an audio download that I can take back whenever I please 🙂

    I also have to say I’m guilty of said crime, but not on purpose. I had a co-worker’s husband loan me several Fantasy / UF books when I first was introduced to the genre. And then I stopped working for the company… me and the co-worker grew apart. I tried to contact her several times to return the books to her husband and she just never responded. I feel I tried to return them and they hung on to some of my things too, so I don’t feel too horrible about it – but they turned out to be some of my favorite books and I do re-read them from time to time… and when I first pick the books up I feel a twinge of guilt.

  44. I can think of 3 books one of my friends has right now. She’s had them for a while too. My cousins also borrowed a couple of books. I only remember that they have 13 Reasons Why and that makes me sad because I love it. Now, since I’m a compulsive book buyer, I’ll probably have to re-buy if not one returns the missing books. Which is what I usual end up doing. Even though I don’t really like the unnecessary spending.

    Maybe it’s time to just stop lending people things.

  45. *bows head* Poor little, lost books.

    I have never had this happen to me… but that could just be because the only people I’ve lent my books to are my sisters and one librarian (we mutually borrowed each others books). While I know they’ll never loose my books, I do worry about my sisters ruining them by leaving them lying open on armrests when not reading.

  46. I’ve always been the type to lend out my books to people who I think will really love them. So far, I’ve been extremely lucky since most of them get returned and in good condition too! The only books that I’ve lost are a lot of my Nicholas Sparks ones, which are guilty pleasures and do make me sad. I’m sorry about all the books you’ve lost — some of them are incredibly awesome too!

  47. I kind of can mourn with you. I let my sister borrow my books and she doesn’t return them. I could just go to her room and get them back, but I don’t.

    P.S. I used to play library when I was little too!

  48. Stacy L says:

    I am a high school English teacher, so mourning lost books is practically in the job description. For the past 11years, I have worked almost exclusively with at-risk kids and struggling readers – those kids who proudly claim in September that they’ve never finished a single book in all their 15-16 years and don’t plan to change that any time soon. I take that as a personal challenge. So needless to say, I work really hard to maintain a classroom library full of high-interest YA books, 99% of which I buy with my own money! Luckily, I have an amazing dollar bookstore nearby, but it’s still safe to say that these books are like my babies. However in order to prove these reluctant readers wrong, I have to loan out my books: it’s like a drug dealer giving out free samples to get the person addicted so that he’ll keep coming back for more. I have to give these kids a taste of all of the awesomeness they’ve been missing. Sometimes the books come back, but many times, they will go home with a kid, never to be seen again. And that’s hard because when I want to recommend a certain title that would be perfect for kid X, only to find out that it’s missing, I seriously want to hurt someone! But I have to remind myself that my missing book could possibly be in the hands of a potential convert. All of my books have my last name tagged on the page edges of all three sides, so it’s not as if they don’t know who it belongs to. So I like to tell myself that they loved it so much that they couldn’t part with it. Sometimes lies like that help me forgive a book thief, I mean budding coniesour! But it still breaks my heart when I learn that one of my all-time favs is missing. It pains me to try to think how many books I’ve lost over the past 11 years; it’s got to be in the 100s by now. Hopefully those books are being read by someone out there – knowing that would help to ease the pain.

  49. I actually had a checkup on a book that I leant out to a friend. I asked her if she was still reading it, and she said yes, and saw it sitting on a table in good condition. I felt like I was doing a welfare check on a child.

  50. YES I’ve had my friends for going on 5 years now it’s bad but she lives near me and I will return when I do read it haha but anyways I love the way you wrote this post it’s hilarious! The whole mourning your books like a funeral is genius 🙂

  51. I have lost so many books from lending them out. I will have a book I borrowed a long time ago that I haven’t seen her since she have me the book. I have it sitting and waiting for a time when I see her again and can give it back. I understand they all need a mourning period 🙁


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  4. […] On the reverse side? When I lend out books, I’m totally that person who feels all nervous about if the person will like the books I’m lending them! I’m not too worried about minor “damages” when I lend out books because I just don’t care. I mean, pages ripped out or writing in my book would not fly but I’m not too worried about little things. But that’s just a personal preference (plus I love used, loved books). I think most of the time I don’t care too much about how long someone takes to read a book unless a) I want to re-read it and I don’t have it or b) if I’ll never get it back. RIP LOST BOOKS. […]