School days were the times when I tried to read any and every book I could get my hands on. Moreover, I was surrounded by avid readers and book lovers and we ran our own little book paradise, often borrowing from each other. Books were the sole reason we got closer as human beings. So imagine the horrors when I found one of my books returned, absolutely damaged.
Soon, too soon, I could see this nirvana falling apart. All thanks to a rift amongst those who saw books as nothing more than an inanimate object, and those who felt it was the end of the world if their beloved book got a cracked spine.
That day onwards I decided upon some basic rules and set them straight before lending or borrowing a book.
1. Don’t eat while you read
You can eat. But not with my book in your hand. Food stains, grease stains and muck are outrageous and downright gross. And if you spill something on those butter smooth pages, better buy a new copy. Books are utter perfection and no one should be spared for tarnishing their beauty.
2. Take extra care of the spine
Spines of books face the normal wear and tear. But cracks are the evil doings of evil book borrowers who should be punished for their sins. Most book lovers are very meticulous with their spines and are absolute OCD about it. So make sure the spine never ever cracks. It looks like a beautiful person with a broken nose and swollen black eyes. It is consequently, basically abuse to crack the spine of a book.
3. No dog ears
Only the cave human used dog ears as bookmarks. You are not allowed to put “just a little” fold on the end to remind you about your reading journey. It is a primitive act, one that leaves the owner in rage.
4. Put the highlighter/ pencil/whatever you use down!
It is a book for god’s sakes! Not a notebook! If the writer wanted any additions, they would have contacted you. So don’t you dare practice your calligraphy skills on MY book. No highlighting, no marking with a pen or pencil. This deed just sends murderous thought to the owner’s mind. And you never want to cross an angry bookworm.
5. Worship the cover
Any sort of tear on the cover is like disfiguring a human’s face. And if you return my book with its cover hanging off, you are straight forward asking for war. So keep the book in a shrine while you have it and worship it.
6. Two weeks or less policy
Remember you have just borrowed the book, not married it. So if you have no plans to read it anytime soon, return it. But don’t keep it caged in some dusty corner of your shelf or table. Send it back home where it can re-unite with its loving owner. Two weeks or less, but don’t keep it later than that. That shows you either read slow or have no interest. And if you deny both, then you brew up the perfect conspiracy against the lender.
Keeping these rules in mind can save a friendship and even nurture a new one. After all books are like babies to their owners and nobody messes with the mother!