Oh The Pressure!

If you have any book loving friends, I’m sure you’ve passed books amongst yourselves and borrowed books from friends. After all, sharing is caring — especially amongst book friends. It’s so lovely — the generous nature of bookish people to want to lend out books (or maybe it’s just the compulsion we have to push books on people??). And while I am always down for borrowing a book from a friend sometimes I feel like there is so much pressure (mostly internal haha).

(Note: this is not a complaint about borrowing books from people or anything ungrateful or rude about their lending tendencies. I love borrowing books from friends but this is what goes through my mind. I happily borrow books all the time!)

So what kind of pressure do I feel?

1. Pressure to not eff them up. Maybe this is not something you feel as heavily, because I know most of you aren’t book manhandlers like I am, but this is a HUGE one for me! I’m pretty open about how I like dogearring and I’m okay with my books getting “loved” but I would NEVER EVER treat my friends books the way I treat MINE. But that means, for me, constant vigilance and awareness while I am reading. It’s like “OH SELF. Don’t eat that powdered donut while reading this book.” “SELF! Grab a bookmark!” “OH OH YOU IDIOT..DON’T SHOVE THAT BOOK IN YOUR PURSE. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.” “DON’T CRACK THE SPINE OPEN THAT FAR.” It’s a lot of pressure because I have to pay attention to things I don’t normally pay attention to with my own books (seriously I must have not developed these reader quirks)! I would feel awful if I ruined a book of somebody’s — or not RUINED but even sent it back in less than pristine condition.

2. Pressure to get them read in a timely manner: I’ve told you all about what it’s like to be a mood reader and how it affects me but this is SO PART OF THIS. I will be so excited to borrow a book from a friend but my mood reading takes over and it might take me forever to decide I’m ready to read the book. I sit there and feel so much guilt when I see the book on my shelf and I’m like I SHOULD just read it right now but alas my mood reader tendencies dictate a lot. I’ve borrowed SO many books that I have taken an embarrassingly long time to read and I feel awful always. Luckily my friends are forgiving!

3. Pressure to LIKE them: Most of the time I’m borrowing a book that someone else loved and they think I should read so there is a huge pressure to like it though I know that my friends are okay if I don’t. But I want to like it! I do! When I borrow books I KNOW I’m going to be reporting back to the person when I finish it because if not that would be kind of awkward haha. I just get so nervous that I’m going to NOT like it and I’ll have to report back all WOMP WOMP I didn’t like it.

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.

What about you?? Do you share my weird “anxieties” when it comes to borrowing books or have different ones? What about when YOU are the lender of books?

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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. Ugh, we’re pretty much on the same page. I like borrowing books especially if I’m not sure if I’d like the story. Especially the pressure to like them. Omg. I don’t know how to break it to them that the book sucked for me just when my friends starts swooning and asking me how hot the couple were.

    • Yes! I’ve been trying not to buy AS many books especially if it’s one I might not have heard of! And yes! It’s that awkward, “SO HOW WAS IT OMG? DIDN’T YOU LOVE THIS PART?!?!” And I’m all sad panda trying to think of how to say it without completely breaking their hearts!

  2. I totally feel you! My friend (who rarely reads) read The Fault in our Stars and she loved it to death so I borrowed it and didn’t really love it. I liked it though, but I didn’t cry my eyes out or felt the ‘feels’ throughout the book. I also feel pressured of taking good care of her book. If I lend my book to others of course I don’t want it to get damaged so I was really careful while I had her TFIOS book.

    • Ahh that’s so hard! Especially with a book that made everyone go crazy like TFIOS!

      And I think for most people it’s only a little extra awareness when reading other’s books but for me it’s like a whole new lifestyle while reading. I’m so paranoid!! lol

  3. I don’t really borrow books from people, because I don’t really know people that are willing to send a book to the Netherlands 😛 Besides, I’ll just go to the library and see if they have a copy there and if not, I’ll wait until I can get my hands on a copy myself.

    But I can totally understand your problems. I’d definitely feel the same pressures, even though I’m really careful with my books, but what if it happens that you accidentally break the spine etc. I’d feel horrible!

    • Ahh yeah..I would totally send you books if I had a job that paid better than nannying 😛 It would be so fun to have a pen pal of sorts from another country to send books to each other and such! Damn shipping costs!

      And the funny thing is, like your example of breaking the spine, is something I was not even AWARE of until I started blogging and people started talking about their pet peeves haha.

  4. YES. I totally manhandle my books, too. So when I borrow someone else’s? It’s so much pressure to make sure they get it back exactly as I got it. >.<
    Same with the pressure to like it! Mostly because, as you said, that if you insisted someone read a book of yours, you really want them to like it. :/

    • Manhandlers unite!! It seriously is SO hard because I treat it like I’m holding an egg or something. Afraid it’s going to break. With my own books I’m not at all careful haha. I’ve probably scared people off from lending me books by admitting these things but I’m like NO I PROMISE I AM GENTLE WITH YOURS.

  5. If anything, I’m the one who does most of the lending, but there is a book I borrowed from a friend LAST YEAR that I still haven’t read and every time I look at it I feel awful. It’s part of a series I absolutely loved, so it’s not like I won’t ever read it, but it’s been taking a backseat to review copies for months now. 🙁 THANK YOU FOR SHOWING ME I’M NOT ALONE!

    • Yeah I definitely do most of the lending when I think about it but I have borrowed quite a few books from other bloggers through the years! I always am scared that I’ve done someone wrong but they won’t tell me haha. I said in another comment above but things like cracking the spine…I had no idea that was a THING until I came into this community so I always wonder if there is some other book handling no-no I am not aware of!

      It’s okay. I’ve totally had books for a year. EEEP. I always feel SO BAD.

  6. Usually when I borrow books from friends, it’s because I’ve browsed through their long-neglected bookshelf and discovered something I liked or have been meaning to read. My friends don’t read much, so I don’t have a lot of pressure to return them in a timely manner. Also, their books have usually been loved as much as mine (dog-earing, spine-bending, the whole bit) so I just try to return them in about the same condition I received them. It’s a lot less pressure when your friends aren’t readers. Usually I’m the one lending out from my 406+ book home library (:

    • Haha this is true definitely for me when I borrow books from IRL friends (not bloggers) or my sister. I know they aren’t going to miss it haha. My blogger friends..totally not the case since they are as big readers as I am.

      When you lend books out do you care if people read them quickly and I have to KNOW…do you inspect them when they come back?? haha

      I definitely find myself lending out a lot of books too. I pretty much have no “rules” except don’t like completely ruin it haha. UNLESS IT IS SIGNED. That’s a different story. haha. I had a friend borrow a book (an ARC) and when I saw her next she came to me with a finished copy because she said that she got some water on it and a few pages curled and I was like OMG first of all it was an ARC…I REALLYYYY don’t care about ARCs and second, even if it was a finished copy, I would NOT have cared for the edges of a few pages to be curled. I felt so bad that she bought a hardcover!!

      • I don’t borrow from my blogger friends because I’m still not really into the sending books thing. I haven’t figured out postage and stuff yet. But maybe soon. When I do lend books out to people I keep a log and write down when I lend them out and when they return them. I prefer them to return them sooner than later, but if I keep track then it really doesn’t matter that much to me. What does bother me is if I know they’ve finished it but they haven’t returned it yet. And when they give them back I don’t inspect them very thoroughly- just a cursory glance.
        That was really nice that she got you a hardcover though! I don’t care much about ARCs either.

  7. I’m pretty neurotic about my books so I’m not super concerned when borrowing books since I already treat mine so gently. But I am super nervous when I lend out books to other people. I’m always super worried they’re going to break the binding, bend the spine, dent the corners, etc. I loaned a book to a friend the other day and I saw it sitting in her purse and I physially cringed. Now I have another friend that wants to borrow the Legend series from me, but my copies are signed and I’m really debating whether or not I want to lend it to her because seriously risky. So yeah. I’m that person. The one that desperately wants to loan her books to people because I want to share the love, but also the one who doesn’t because I’m super picky about the treatment of my books.

  8. I totally agree with you! I feel like I HAVE to love the book that they loved. And with my weird brain, there is no way to convince it otherwise. And I hate borrowing for a long time because I hate when people take forever to return my books. It’s a long complicated circle of weird.
    BTW – I don’t know if I’ve said this before but I Looooovvvveeee your blog design. SO pretty!

  9. Ugh, I sent one of my best book buddies one of my ALL-TIME FAVES and she was like, “I…didn’t love this book. It was okay. I don’t get it” and I was SO disappointed. Like, MEGA disappointed, so I totally know how you feel, Jamie. It kind of felt like my own failure…is that weird? Like I didn’t recommend the right book?

    I don’t borrow books that often anymore because I’m really scared that I will mess up other people’s pristine copies. I’m totally like you – I read while I eat, I throw my books around, and I love dogearing. But yeah, if I borrow books, I have to curb that desire. I’ve managed to pull it off with library books – mostly because they have library binding, so it’s not that hard to keep them nice. But yeah, I can’t borrow from certain friends.

    I do lend out books a lot, and honestly, as long as I’m getting people into YA and they’re happy, I’m happy. =)

  10. I actually try to avoid borrowing books from people for these three exact reasons. And when I try to explain this, people look at me like I’m crazy. Glad I’m not alone!

  11. I definitely feel you on the pressure to finish them quickly (or at all) and like them. If I were to DNF a friend’s favorite book, that would be totally awkward.

  12. I strangely don’t borrow that many books from my friends since if someone recommends something, I just buy my own copy, haha. However, if I’m reading a book based on a friend’s recommendation, I definitely feel the pressure to like it! Because of that, whenever I lend out books, I ask what they are in the mood for and emphasize that I don’t mind if they don’t like it, since I have plenty more to lend them once we start figuring out what they like, haha.

  13. Borrowing books can be nice–but I really hate when people lend me books unasked. I have one friend who did this so much I finally had to bluntly ask her to stop. I have a long to-read list, and it doesn’t really have room on it for stuff that I am only secondarily interested in. Plus, when lent, like you said, there is then the pressure to actually read them, and quickly, and I really don’t need those pressures in my life.

    Basically, I love borrowing books, but almost only when I am the one initiating the borrowing. (Or if friends say “you’re welcome to borrow X” and leave the decision about when and whether up to me.)

  14. Totally agree with you on the pressure to like the book. I actually kind of feel that as the lender/recommender too. The last time I gave out a book, you’d swear I was the author because I wanted my friend to like it so much! Of course, if she hadn’t, I wouldn’t be upset with her or anything, but I really was hoping she’d love it! 🙂

  15. For me, the pressure is totally there to read a book I borrow in a timely manner, so usually I just don’t borrow books because I have enough here to get through to last me for an obnoxious amount of time. Alas.

    And yes to pressure to like the book, that is massive.

    And this basically sums up why I never borrow books.

  16. Pressure to read them in a timely manner is a HUGE one for me. Most of the time, I say something like, um do you need this back in the next year?

  17. I haven’t borrowed books from friends in a while but I feel bad if I borrowed a book that they loved and I just didn’t feel the same ardor that they felt. I totally know what you mean by being super careful with their books and not screwing it up. Most of the time though, my friends end up borrowing my books, which makes me happy. Yay for books!

  18. I definitely feel the pressure to read borrowed books in a timely manner, but that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I just have to give them back so I don’t keep them forever.

  19. It’s funny that you write this post. I never dog ear books – I use sticky notes/flags, but recently while reading a library book I didn’t have anything on hand to mark some special passages so I dog eared the pages and it felt liberating. But I know I would never do this to a friends book.

    Honestly, I hardly loan books out or borrow from people. I’m terrified of not returning them within a timely manner or damaging them by accident. And I’ve had a few not come back and forgot who I loaned books to. This is sad when it’s a favourite – so now I either will tell people all about the book I read and/or buy them copies for gifts. 😉

  20. Haha YES. All of these. I always feel obligated to return them in a timely manner (which let’s be honest, it’s REALLY hard to do!!!!) and since I’m so protective of my books, even if it’s a book that a bunch of people are borrowing, I really don’t want to damage it in any way!
    I feel SO BUMMED when I borrow something and don’t like it! Like, I will try to NOT have to tell that person that I borrowed their book and didn’t like it haha!

  21. I think the hardest part about borrowing a book is the pressure to read it right away… I have so many books to read sometimes it is hard to borrow a book and read it right away. I feel like if I do borrow a book from a friend I need to read it that month. I will decline borrowing a book alot of times. What I do is wait until I am actually ready to read the book and THEN ask to borrow it.

  22. I’m such an odd duck over here, since I don’t actually own any books-all of the books I read/review come from my local library. So, I’ve never had anyone borrow books from me. I’ve also never borrowed a book from someone-when a family member or friend recommends a book, I just go to the library and pick it up 🙂

    Just found your blog through another blog’s link, and I’m now following you through bloglovin 🙂


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