Early lending

I love lending out books, recommending books, having books recommended to me. Holding a book someone else has given or lent me, I feel like I’m holding a thick slice of fresh-baked bread slathered in butter, something basic and divine at the same time. I’ve been really lucky. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a recommended or gifted book. Henri and Nicole improbably hooked me into a sci-fi romance series. Samantha has me swooning over The Hour of the Star. Kevin twists my brain up with thoughts from Kurt Vonnegut. I try to be a good lender, but this is the thing: I’m most excited into a flurry of lending when I first meet someone. I want them to know everything about me. I want us to be bibilophilic soulmates. Because, you know, when we have a beer and talk for an hour it’s like we’re old-time pals. So I reach into my library and head straight for the Brooding/Mellow section. (My Brooding/Mellow section is huge.) And I fiercely recommend Everything is Illuminated or The Boy Detective Fails, and I don’t get them back right away. Weeks go by. The acquaintance and I become better and better friends. And I realize that I’ve lent them the entirely wrong book. It’s too brooding. It’s too mellow. It’s not quite funny enough. What was I thinking? So now my copy of Everything is Illuminated is marooned in another person’s apartment, about as useless as a human appendix, and I can’t say, “I’m sorry. I misjudged you. Give me my book back.”

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