I Think I’ve Made A Terrible Mistake

I’ve always loved lending out books. As a kid, I practically begged my sister to borrow books from me. I love being excited about a book and getting others excited. I’ve converted some of my friends into readers and it’s delightful. Even when I’ve had to mourn some lost books, I’ve still joyously lent them out to friends in need of a new book for their vacation or just life in general. I don’t even get too worried about wear and tear to my books because you know how I am. In fact, I’m more scared to borrow books from other people than I am to lend them out. (I think I’m a weirdo in that regard maybe?).

But in my book zeal, I’ve realized I may have been a little too hasty with my lending.

 

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I’ve lost track of what I lent out and I’ve lent out things that perhaps I shouldn’t because it kind of gives me heart palpitations to think of ever losing.

 

3 situations I’ve found myself in lately:

1. Forgetting what I lent out: My little sister came to visit and said she wanted some new books to read. I was practically bouncing up and down that she wanted some books. So I loaded her up with 10 or so books and I can’t even remember which ones. The only one I do remember that I lent her FOR SURE is Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour which you know I super love. She said my cousin (who is also her age) wanted to borrow some too and I was just so excited to connect with them over books that I was out of control. I’m honestly terrified I’m never going to see these books again and I can’t even REMEMBER which books they are. I need to make people sign them out like I did when I was little APPARENTLY. Also, my sister is not ummm very responsible in keeping track of THINGS? About a week after I lent them out I had a moment of sheer panic for my books after my “OMG PEOPLE I LOVE WANT TO READ” high wore off.

2. Lending out favorites. SIGNED FAVORITES: My friend borrowed a bunch of books from me (and recently returned them…AH THE RELIEF)  and I was SO excited because I have gotten her into YA. She would read a little bit here and there but never YA. And now she’s hooked. SO OBVIOUSLY I hooked her up with my favorites from Gayle Forman (among others). BUT THESE WERE MY SIGNED BOOKS. And I trusted her no doubt. But I realized I maybe need some “borrowing copies” for my favorite books so I don’t have to part with my signed. WHAT IF SHE LOST THEM? Especially my Gayle’s. Can’t replace these personalized copies.

3. Lending out books to people who then lend them out to someone else: So my friend who borrowed my Gayle books? Well, she lent them to her sister-in-law and then her mom. NOW, she asked. She did. But I felt so awkward saying no and plus I WANT EVERYONE TO READ THE GAYLE BOOKS….so I said yes. I HAD NEVER HAD THIS HAPPEN BEFORE. I was ill-prepared and it scared me for my books to get even further away.

 

And now I’ve found myself with a bout of book lending anxiety. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL, friends. I’ve never really ever felt TOO nervous about lending and I’ve done it freely and joyously but now I kind of just want to be like THEY ARE MIIIIIINE. NO.

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But I really just like getting friends hooked on books I’ve loved. I’ve had a lot of personal success with lending my books and letting friends discover new favorites (my one friend who lives in my complex has been a READING MACHINE and has discovered all sorts of new authors to love from borrowing my books).  I know a lot of other people don’t like feeling like their friend’s personal library…but I’ve never minded it.

So now I’m all like: to lend or not to lend? Do I need to maybe have boundaries with certain books? Actually write down what people borrow? Stop lending so freeeely? I DO NOT KNOW.

 

What about you guys? Do you lend books out to people? Have any lending horror stories? How do you choose what books you are fine with lending?

Hey Stranger! I Like Books!

I love talking to strangers about books.

I struggle with this. I won’t lie. I want to be cautious and sensitive about people’s personal space and the fact that not everybody wants to talk or is as outgoing is me. But I’m not going to lie...every time I’m in the library or the bookstore and see someone holding a book I have read/heard about my body shakes like an excited dog and out of my mouth wants to escape a “HEY! I LOVE THAT BOOK. BUY IT” or “So you are also an adult who loves YA?? ME TOO!!” I guess that last one is awkward if they are buying it for like their teen daughter or something haha.

I don’t want to be creepy but I want to talk to you about books. You instantly gain points as a human if you are in the library or the bookstore. And I just get too ridiculously excited about books and making people read books and talking about books I loved. Sidenote: You, guessed it, I’m a very social person when it comes to books. Probably that annoying person who you just want to go away so you can continue browsing.

I’ve had good experiences with this personally.  I was at a used book sale  once and a lady started chatting me up and we became very friendly and tossing books to each other as we browsed through all the boxes of book. It was enjoyable and nice to connect with someone over something. I’ve had really nice people in bookstores encourage me to buy a book that was in my hands and tell me what they loved about it.

I don’t even mind when someone sees me reading on a train or something and says, “Oh I loved that book!” I mean, I might not want to have a full on conversation depending on the day and my mood but sometimes I like a nice little chat. Other times I just want to get back to said book. Most bookworms do understand both though I think?  I DOOOO hate when random people comment on what I’m reading. I’ve been hit on two times while reading and it was so painfully obvious they didn’t care about the book. The one time, after BEA, I was on the train and was only like obviously 2 pages into the book and the guy just kept asking me about it even though I was like, “I just started it. I have no opinions.” That makes me explode and not in a good way.

There’s also the other kind of encounters over books that result in a friendship or a bonding experience that I LOVE. Years ago I was at a party for Will’s mom’s engagement and I knew only a handful of people. Will’s mom introduced me to a relative of her fiance’s (hi Jenny!!) and basically was like, “Hey you both love to read.” I got talking to her and found out that she also loved YA and we chattered excitedly pretty much the rest of the party and both went away with a crap ton of recommendations. It was such an awesome way to connect with somebody over something we both loved and honestly it made the party WAY more fun for me.

I just love how books can make us connect to strangers or people we are introduced to. Obviously it’s like any mutual interest but there’s just something so easy about talking books with someone you barely know and I feel like I get to know them so much more by learning their favorite books or what they hated or how a book resonated with them.

I mean, even with the internet and this blogging things, look at how strangers have become some of my closest friends and I’ve been able to bare some of the deepest and most honest parts of myself with ease whether I’m talking about why I read books dealing with grief so much or books  that encourage me to LIVE or insecurities. All because of books. I’ve become a more honest person who sees the world with different eyes all the time.

GOD I LOVE BOOKS.

Let’s Talk:

What about you? Do you talk to strangers about books when you see them in the bookstore/library or reading in public? Have you ever made a connection with a stranger in a social situation and bonded over books? Does it BOTHER you or do you LIKE when strangers talk to YOUUUU about books?

The Ebb and Flow Of My Bookshelves

Upon finishing a book, after processing and all the normal things, the question that dashes through my mind even before “what to read next?” is “Am I going to keep this book?” That might surprise you since I told you I’m a book hoarder who is drowning in books but that’s mostly because I keep taking in new books. Honestly, at this point, most of my bookshelves are full of unread books.

I am pretty ruthless about getting rid of books after I’ve read them. I have four bookcases and I really don’t want to get anymore right now — unless I can have a whole library and in our current dwelling that means either giving up the bedroom or the bathroom or the living room. I have been trying to be a little more of a minimalist (trying is the operative word here) and I don’t want to keep things I’m not going to use…or in this case read.

It’s been hard to be so ruthless about it because on one hand I’m like MAN I paid for this book. It should stay! Or what if I want to lend it to someone? And sometimes it’s purely superficial because the cover is so BEAUTIFUL. And also because I just WANT to see SOOOOO many books in my possession. And sometimes I feel really conflicted because I feel like by getting rid of a book I’m like “YOU ARE NOT WORTHY” when the book, in reality, was quite good and I liked it.

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So as soon as I finish a book I make a decision to put it one of two places — back in its place on the shelf or I put it in my designated “to find homes for” space. I make my decision based on four questions.

1. Would I consider it a favorite? If it’s a favorite it automatically gets shelf space. If I was reading from an ARC/ebook I purchase said book because FAVORITES ALWAYS GET SPACE ON THE SHELF.

2. Will I reread it? Sometimes a book might not be an all time favorite but I could see myself wanting to revisit the story at a later date or reread certain passages or it was so darn thought-provoking that I know it will just keep on giving. Most of the time favorites ARE also rereads but sometimes not and I just want to have them to lend out and to just have in my collection.

3. Is it part of a series I love? If it’s part of a series I love, I’ll keep it even if that particularly book wasn’t a fave. I don’t care about matching series covers as I’ve admitted to before but I absolutely WOULD hate starting at an incomplete series though there are some books I’d rather wish didn’t exist in a series. Amirite here?

4. Is it signed? Sometimes I’ll keep a book that maybe wasn’t a favorite or a reread but I really LIKED if it is signed — especially personalized by an author I love. If it’s not personalized it’s a case by case. It’s tricky because sometimes I really liked the author but did NOT like the book at all.

 

So, if the answer is no to the four questions above what do I do?

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Pass them on to friends and family: If there’s a book I enjoyed and can think of a friend/blogger who might also enjoy it, I pass it along to them because I’d rather see it get read by a friend. Also, enter book club. They get dibs. I also pass them along to my teen niece and nephews A LOT.

Donate to bookish things I support: I donate them to my librarian friend + book clubber Katie for her to take to her library and put in the collection/use for sales to raise money for the library.  I also donate them to my library. I really love my library, even after a bad encounter with one nasty librarian, and I think their YA section is okay. I like to give back to them as much as I can. They’ve put some books in their collection and I always keep an eye out for when I can donate for their library sale. I also donate them to a neighbor who teaches English at a local high school and he puts them in his classroom.

If I exhausted all the ways of people I know + supporting my community, I will take them to a local women’s shelter and I plan on contacting a children’s hospital to see if they would take them (I don’t know what the rule is with that kind of thing).

There are so many different places I could donate my books to but these are just the ones that I personally do because I love matching books to readers first and foremost and I love supporting my local libraries and the English departments because I know it’s hard with resources being cut. I’ve also been wanting to look into other places in the community I can donate to also.

Even though I feel good passing them on + donating them, it’s so HARD being ruthless after I’ve finished a book. Aside from the very fond feelings for some of them,  there’s that actual parting with it thing that’s always HORRIBLE for a book hoarder. VERRRRRY TRAUMATIC.

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But in order to be a little more minimalistic and simpler in life, gotta do what I gotta do. It’s still out of control by most (probably not book bloggers) standards but I do feel better about not having books just collecting dust when they are off living life and being read by someone else.

If you aren’t so good at culling your bookshelves you should take a look at April’s guide to culling your books! Very helpful for you if you don’t know where to start because it is super detailed and covers books you’ve not read which is where I’m BAD at deciding. I’ve always had a foolproof plan for BOOKS I’VE READ so I’m hoping April’s questions will help me with a system to get rid of the unread books collecting dust. Also maybe I should just stop buying random books? But honestly a lot of mine are from LONG LONG ago that I just can’t seem to part with even though it’s been 6+ years and I’ve still not read them.

Let’s Talk:

Do you keep all the books you buy after you read them because you can’t part with them? Are you ruthless with getting rid of books? What do you do with them when you do decide to remove them from your shelf? I’d love to know the ebb and flow of your bookshelf!

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