The Ten Commandments of Borrowing Books
There are unspoken rules I follow for different areas of my life. I've already written about how I guide my relationships, but now it's time to talk about something almost as important: how to treat borrowed books.
Whether you're new to the literary world or you're a hardcore bibliophile, you'll appreciate these ten commandments to help you rule the world of books.
1. Thou shalt read no other books before me. When you borrow a book, read it before reading anything else (in the spirit of getting it back to the Lender in a timely manner).
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any food that might spill upon the book. This is one of the most heinous book crimes there is. For everyone's sake, keep your food miles away from the book.
3. Thou shalt not misuse the book of the Lender thy friend, for the Lender will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses her book. No writing, staining, ripping, highlighting, bending, beating, scratching, etc., the book.
4. Remember the written word by keeping it safe. Keep it off the floor, indoors, and away from water sources, open flames, pets, and small children. In the event of juggling too many things, always drop the other things but clutch the book--gently--for dear life.
5. Honour thy book and thy jacket: that thy days may be long within the hardcovers which the Lender thy friend giveth thee. Do not remove or beat up the jacket. Protect it like the delicate beauty it is, rather than like that scrap of paper with book recommendations from B&N that you tore into a million pieces.
6. Thou shalt not stab. Even if the story is terribly sad or you get mad at a villain, don't ever take your violence out on the book. Don't shoot the messenger.
7. Thou shalt not commit corner-bending. There's a reason someone invented bookmarks. Never bend the corners of a page, even if it appears the Lender did so.
8. Thou shalt not re-lend. How dare you even think of such a thing!
9. Thou shalt not buy false books if you damage the originals. Do not attempt to trick the Lender by replacing the book you damaged without giving them a heads up. They'll probably realize it's new. Admit your mistake, return the original, beloved-but-damaged copy, and then offer to buy a new one.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy friend's books. If you like it all that much, buy your own copy and return the borrowed one.
I hope none of these have happened to you as a lender! By following these, you will be a more reputable borrower. Is there anything I have forgotten? Let me know which book crimes should be outlawed in the comments below!