I just spent a fruitless thirty minutes searching my bookshelves for a certain book, and then remembered that I loaned it to a friend over a year ago. Once again, I vow never to loan a book I love because loved books are the ones you never get back. It’s some kind of law, like gravity. The more you love a book, the less likely you are to get it back if you loan it to somebody.
I don’t think people deliberately fail to return borrowed books. It’s just that if they love them too, they also want to share them, so they loan them to somebody else, who does the same thing, and then they never get back to you. I’ll bet I’ve bought a hundred copies of books that I’ve already bought once and loaned and never got back.
The solution, of course, is not to loan books I really love. And every time I look for a missing one, I swear I’ll remember that. But then I’ll read something I want to share and I’ll say, “You have to read this,” and press it on a friend who may not even want to read it, and there I go again.
So for the zillioneth time, I hereby raise my right hand and swear that I will never loan a book again to anybody. Unless I don’t much like the book and plan to give it away anyway. Amen.