Review: Borrowing Books

I Read this Blog Post which makes the case against borrowing/lending books. I understand completely the stress of lending. I let someone borrow Mistborn, didn’t write down and who and now…. I have a hole in my collection. I will probably end up spending the $5 at a used book store to replace it, but I know I lent it to a “friend” and that “friend” never returned it. Thankfully, I also can’t remember which friend so I can’t be annoyed with them. I’ll still lend in the future, I’ll just try to remember to write down who borrowed so I can get my book(s) back!

And the part about disliking libraries…. I have a confession to make: I haven’t had a library card since college. And that was for my college library. I disagree with the word “tease” that writer chose, but the pain of knowing I have to work ten-times harder if I want to re-read (which I do. Regularly) a new favorite book… I’d rather save my pennies and buy the book.

But those aside, the part I really want to address is the first part: having a friend lend me a book. I too go through phases. After reading The Twentieth Wife, I went on kick for anything from non-european/WASPish cultures. Still working it through my system, but when I had a friend tell me I needed to read The School for Good and Evil, I set aside my current obsession and reached for it.  Recently my husband asked me to read a book online being written by a friend of his. I’ve started it – again in spite of a kick on sci-fi/women writers (more the former than the latter, but definite strong preferences especially for Kristine Kathryn Rusch).

I think my biggest problem with libraries is convenience and laziness. Scridb, Google Play, and Amazon have spoiled me. I don’t want to have to go get a book when I want to read IT. I want it now. (I know, the total of a 10 minute drive!) But even worse, libraries aren’t like bookstores: I have rarely successfully “browsed” in a library.  Because bookstores are ordered by genre/type: if I’m in the mood for a bad romance I can find it. Or a sci-fi or a ficto-biography (The Other Boleyn Girl, Imperial Woman, or The Twentieth Wife would fall in this category). Ok, so the historical fiction stuff isn’t usually its own section, but they are easier to seek out in a bookstore than a library. When I don’t know exactly what I want the library is too much: too scattered; too varied.

A perfect example was last weekend when I wanted “something” to read while doing housework. I didn’t have a specific book in mind: I just wanted something new. Sci-fi sounded good so I went through Audible. Meh… nothing I want to re-read.  Ok, so this is exactly why I like my Scribd subscription. Took me maybe 20 minutes of browsing (which includes going and reading reviews of some of the books and then discarding them) before I settled on Valor’s Choice. I doubt I would have found that so easily in a library and I don’t blame the library, but… there is a weakness there (in my opinion). I don’t work in a library, so I won’t tell them it’s a fatal flaw (I try never to judge another cook’s kitchen!) but the current setup/methodology doesn’t encourage me to borrow books much.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Borrowing Books

  1. While I do agree that browsing in a library is tedious (which I feel the word “browsing” implies relaxed/casual, rather than tedious), I will say that my recent discovery that I can borrow ebooks from my library for free – without leaving my house – has made my life much easier. So I will give my library props for that.

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