Author Topic: Houseguests and book "borrowing"  (Read 6384 times)

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Dorrie78

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2012, 01:23:05 PM »
Leaving aside the commenting, which I think is rude, I would have asked you if I could read the book, but I would also assume that you would say yes and that asking was just a formality. When I've stayed at people's homes, I've always assumed that bookshelves that are in common areas are "fair game," in that if I wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep, it would be okay for me to select a book from the shelf and read it, without asking permission. I also would never fold a page or damage the book in any other way.

I think there is a big difference between picking up a book and fiddling around with other things on display like a figurine. Books are meant to be picked up and read. Well, unless you have a rare first edition of Don Quixote, or something like that, but then I wouldn't leave that stuck in a book shelf out in the open...

I love books and I love to read, usually reading 3-4 books at once, each in a different room in the house. I rarely lend my books out of the house, but will happily lend them to a houseguest.

camlan

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2012, 01:27:47 PM »
It's rude to make fun of or disparage someone's reading choices, especially when you are their guest. Kind of a breech of hospitality, to mock or deride your host.

It's polite to ask to borrow something, be it a book or a magazine or the TV remote. You don't just grab things in another person's house for your own use unless you have been invited to or if you ask. Books are not exempt from this.

My chick-lit is safely stored in my bedroom, but I can't hide all the books that someone might make judgmental remarks about. There are four bookcases in the living room, two in the study, one in the dining room, one in the kitchen and three in the bedroom. There's the potential to mock me for reading just about any of them--the children's lit collection, the sci-fi collection, the self-help collection, the interior decor p0rn collection. I should not have to hide these books in order to keep someone from making fun of me for reading them.

Guests are free to notice them and to ask sincere questions about them. But not to poke fun at the genre or my taste in books. It would be the same as coming in to my home and mocking the style of curtains or the cat tree in the dining room or the art choices I have made.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


JillyJ

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2012, 01:40:16 PM »
I've had people look at my books and comment on them on more then one occasion.  If I didn't want some one to see one of them for any reason I'd not put it in the common area of a house.

I think it would have been fine if you said "please treat that book gently, I'm into keeping them looking new"

I agree on both points.  I'll confess I've made comments about the titles of other people's books -- I read and write romance novels and the titles are hilarious!  Most of my friends who are romance readers get a kick out of it so it probably wouldn't have occurred to me that this would offend you. 

I already said I had no problem with him looking.  That wasn't the problem.  As for the common area thing - my choices are common area or get rid of all mine and my husband's books.  That's the reality of our living situation.  I'm not getting rid of my books.  As for the titles, when he first mentioned the first couple with a raised brow I was not offended at all, I laughed and commented on that being the norm.  It was the fact that despite their being hundreds of books there, he never left that section and continued to make comments.  Maybe he's a closet romance novel junky and didn't want to admit it, who knows, but after a while it did make me feel like he was being judgy.

I also think that if you're embarrassed by the smutty nature of the book, they shouldn't be out in the open. 

Not even embarrassed - though I realize I used "mortified" in my OP - but it was more just an incredulous moritification that he picked out THAT book out of everything there.  LOL  I'm sure he had a thoroughly entertaining night of reading.  And like I said, my husband and I had a good chuckle over it when I told him what his friend had taken. I have a feeling my husband will be reading it next.

I do appreciate those saying that the books are out there, so I can't expect people not to look (and I'm ok with that), it's the just taking that was the problem - and without having even really made it into the house.  If he had come in, had dinner, hung out and then on his way to bed decided to puruse the bookshelves for some reading it probably wouldn't have struck me as so odd.  It was the walking in and 10 seconds later beginning to paw through my possessions and then take one that rubbed me the wrong way.  I guess I didn't even realize that was the source of my irritation until the discussion here.

And I guess I don't see why books are somehow different than anything else in the house.  Looking's fine, but I would never take without asking.  I probably wouldn't even pull them off the shelf without asking. 

JillyJ

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2012, 01:45:40 PM »
Leaving aside the commenting, which I think is rude, I would have asked you if I could read the book, but I would also assume that you would say yes and that asking was just a formality.

And it would have been.  My exact answer would have been, "Yes, but please don't dog ear the pages.  Can I get you a bookmark?"  LOL 

When I've stayed at people's homes, I've always assumed that bookshelves that are in common areas are "fair game," in that if I wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep, it would be okay for me to select a book from the shelf and read it, without asking permission.

I guess maybe it's because I never travel without a book and never have that problem that it would never occur to me that anything in anyone else's house, whether I can see it or not, would be "fair game."  But it's nice to hear other people's perspective - which is why I asked.  I do have a handful of autographed books and such, so I might find a place to tuck those away so that I won't have to worry.  Like I said, the book cases have been there for 2 years and no one has ever pulled a book off the shelves - and we've had other houseguests, so it never occured to me to be selective in what was kept there.  Although I suppose if they pulled one out and put it back while I wasn't around I wouldn't know.

NyaChan

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2012, 02:45:52 PM »
JillyJ, my friends just don't read this genre so I never get good recommendations - if you don't mind, what book was it? 

Surianne

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2012, 02:57:03 PM »
I also think that if you're embarrassed by the smutty nature of the book, they shouldn't be out in the open. 

Not even embarrassed - though I realize I used "mortified" in my OP - but it was more just an incredulous moritification that he picked out THAT book out of everything there.  LOL  I'm sure he had a thoroughly entertaining night of reading.  And like I said, my husband and I had a good chuckle over it when I told him what his friend had taken. I have a feeling my husband will be reading it next.

Ah thanks for clarifying -- I saw the word mortified and thought that was the main issue, that you didn't want him looking at the smutty books at all, which is mainly what my post was about.  Now I understand where you're coming from. 

JillyJ

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2012, 03:05:09 PM »
JillyJ, my friends just don't read this genre so I never get good recommendations - if you don't mind, what book was it?

Hahaha - this totally cracked me up. Haven't read it in years (probably pre-marriage), so not sure how good the recommendation is (maybe if I read it now, I wouldn't like it, lol), but it was I Love Bad Boys by Lori Foster, Janelle Denison and Donna Kauffman.  I can always let you know what he thought.  LOL  It's funny because I have a couple that I do have hidden away, and when I was setting up the bookshelves my benchmark was kind of, would I care if my mother saw this? And in this case didn't.  I guess I should have asked myself, would I care if Mr. J's old friend came to town and wanted to borrow this?  LOL.  Though, like I said, that wasn't really my issue.  I suppose I could have left that part out, but I did think it made the the story more entertaining. 

Surianne

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2012, 03:10:09 PM »
For sure, it was a good story  ;D

NyaChan

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2012, 03:12:50 PM »
JillyJ, my friends just don't read this genre so I never get good recommendations - if you don't mind, what book was it?

Hahaha - this totally cracked me up. Haven't read it in years (probably pre-marriage), so not sure how good the recommendation is (maybe if I read it now, I wouldn't like it, lol), but it was I Love Bad Boys by Lori Foster, Janelle Denison and Donna Kauffman.  I can always let you know what he thought.  LOL  It's funny because I have a couple that I do have hidden away, and when I was setting up the bookshelves my benchmark was kind of, would I care if my mother saw this? And in this case didn't.  I guess I should have asked myself, would I care if Mr. J's old friend came to town and wanted to borrow this?  LOL.  Though, like I said, that wasn't really my issue.  I suppose I could have left that part out, but I did think it made the the story more entertaining.

Hahaha I've actually read that one. I would be curious to get a guy's take on it  :D 

As far as hiding books goes - I was babysitting once and got the shock of my life when i reached under the bed for the casualty of a temper tantrum - my pre-teen eyes went  :o

WillyNilly

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2012, 03:15:16 PM »
Well, I would agree if he were MY friend or family, but I think it's odd for a guest of my husband to choose a book that is quite clearly mine.  I've hung out with this guy maybe a dozen times since I've been with my husband (4.5 years).

I'm sorry I'm stuck on this.  He is your guest.  He's more a friend of your husband's perhaps, but as your husband's wife, and the co-owner (renter, whatever, co-head of household) of the home, he absolutely is nothing short of being your house guest as equally as he is your husband's guest. 

Personally I am of the opinion books are to be shared and publicly displayed books are fair game for guests of the home to peruse.  Sure guests must treat the books well - no sticky fingers, no folding pages, no spine cracking, no beverage rings, etc, but taking them down to read the jacket is to be expected.  In fact, I tend to think a tad less of people who don't check out a bookcase and its contents with interest.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 03:28:18 PM by WillyNilly »

lowspark

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2012, 03:32:26 PM »
I guess my question is – does a houseguest have the right to just “check out a book” when the books are in the open hallway?  Was Gary rude?  He didn’t so much as ask and I felt it weird that he took a book that was clearly mine, when he’s not even my friend.  Would any of you said anything - if so, what?  Thoughts?

To answer your specific question, I'd say yes, although he would have been much more polite had he asked. But as a PP pointed out, asking is really just a formality in this case. If he'd asked, would you have really said No?

So I don't think he was rude, really, just maybe not as polite as he could have been. But when I have guests at my house, I like them to feel comfortable and "at home". So I'd prefer they dispense with formalities. I usually just show guests where the things are that they are likely to need and then let them know that they are best off helping themselves. So if someone grabbed a book off my shelf for bedtime reading without asking first, it wouldn't really strike me as odd.

Now, if I were meticulous about keeping the book (or anything a guest was using, for that matter) in a certain condition, I'd have no qualms about voicing that. So you could have just said, "Please handle the book carefully. As you can see from looking at the books on my shelves, I like to keep them in really good condition." ...or words to that affect.

I also agree that regardless of whether he is your friend or your husband's, he is staying in your house and that makes him your guest. Unless you had cordoned off everything that specifically belongs to you, I don't see where he overstepped any bounds.

JillyJ

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2012, 03:36:21 PM »
Well, I would agree if he were MY friend or family, but I think it's odd for a guest of my husband to choose a book that is quite clearly mine.  I've hung out with this guy maybe a dozen times since I've been with my husband (4.5 years).

I'm sorry I'm stuck on this.  He is your guest.  He's more a friend of your husband's perhaps, but as your husband's wife, and the co-owner (renter, whatever, co-head of household) of the home, he absolutely is nothing short of being your house guest as equally as he is your husband's guest. 

I disagree that he's as much my house guest as he is my husband's.  My husband took time off from work to hang out with him.  I did not.  He's not my friend.  My husband made sure the guest room was ready for him and is primarily responsible for any plans involving the guest.  I will be involved in a few plans, but other than being polite and making sure he has what he needs he's not really my guest.

That said, it's interesting to see the opinions - which is why I asked.  But my own thought process on that is - if I were at my friends house - someone I had known for years, and while I knew her husband we didn't have a long friendship to stand on - and I had the choice of borrowing something that belonged to my friend vs. something that belonged to her husband, it would NEVER occur to me to borrow something of her husband's without asking.  It just wouldn't.


JillyJ

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2012, 03:38:36 PM »
Ok - so leaving aside the other issues for second - through the discussion I did realize (and mention) that my issue wasn't that he borrowed the book, but that he practically borrowed the book instantly upon walking in the door.  Does that change anyone's opinion of his behavior?

Talley

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2012, 03:39:23 PM »
Well, I would agree if he were MY friend or family, but I think it's odd for a guest of my husband to choose a book that is quite clearly mine.  I've hung out with this guy maybe a dozen times since I've been with my husband (4.5 years).

I'm sorry I'm stuck on this.  He is your guest.  He's more a friend of your husband's perhaps, but as your husband's wife, and the co-owner (renter, whatever, co-head of household) of the home, he absolutely is nothing short of being your house guest as equally as he is your husband's guest. 

Personally I am of the opinion books are to be shared and publicly displayed books are fair game for guests of the home to peruse.  Sure guests must treat the books well - no sticky fingers, no folding pages, no spine cracking, no beverage rings, etc, but taking them down to read the jacket is to be expected.  In fact, I tend to think a tad less of people who don't check out a bookcase and its contents with interest.
Perhaps the difference lies in "checking out the book case and its contents with interest" and just grabbing a book off the shelf and tossing it in the guest room?

For me, the first would be absolutely fine. The latter not so much.


JillyJ

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Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2012, 03:40:12 PM »
Well, I would agree if he were MY friend or family, but I think it's odd for a guest of my husband to choose a book that is quite clearly mine.  I've hung out with this guy maybe a dozen times since I've been with my husband (4.5 years).

I'm sorry I'm stuck on this.  He is your guest.  He's more a friend of your husband's perhaps, but as your husband's wife, and the co-owner (renter, whatever, co-head of household) of the home, he absolutely is nothing short of being your house guest as equally as he is your husband's guest. 

Personally I am of the opinion books are to be shared and publicly displayed books are fair game for guests of the home to peruse.  Sure guests must treat the books well - no sticky fingers, no folding pages, no spine cracking, no beverage rings, etc, but taking them down to read the jacket is to be expected.  In fact, I tend to think a tad less of people who don't check out a bookcase and its contents with interest.
Perhaps the difference lies in "checking out the book case and its contents with interest" and just grabbing a book off the shelf and tossing it in the guest room?

For me, the first would be absolutely fine. The latter not so much.

Thanks Tally - just posted that I had realized that was what bothered me.