Author Topic: Houseguests and book "borrowing"  (Read 6263 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Instantkarma

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 213
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #45 on: March 22, 2012, 07:17:31 PM »
Books, IMO, are something that should inherently be shared.  More so than almost anything else.  They are like air or water - one should never pollute or destroy these things, but truly no one can ever really own them.  I mean yes ultimately books are objects, but in the grand scheme of things books are by nature meant to be shared - otherwise why were the words written?  The author could have left them tucked away inside their brain.  By the act of writing the words, of publishing the book, of distributing the book, we know, know in our heart of hearts, this is something that must be shared and spread amongst all.

wow i dont think i could disagree more!  im willing (happy!)to share titles or authors but the physical books are mine - i want to have them so i can reread them like the old friends that they are. i dont loan books out because they NEVER ever come back the way they left  - and thats if they come back at all.  if i share a book its because i know i wont get it back and im ok with it

Again though this isn't about "loaning out" a book. This a book that was being used in the home.

how is it not loaning? if it is my book and it is in somone elses hands it has been "loaned" to them even if its only for overnight

rose red

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7471
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #46 on: March 22, 2012, 07:33:10 PM »
I'm one of those who think books are personal possessions.  Even if the book stay inside the house, a guest should still ask for permission.  I'd be mighty surprised if a guest used my razor or dress or computer without asking, even they stay inside the house and the guest take excellent care of them.  I'm happy to loan them all out but that should be my choice, not for a guest to grab.

bellacullen

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #47 on: March 22, 2012, 07:46:10 PM »
i guess i don't see the big deal. one of my favorite things about having friends that love to read is that we all share with each other. so i wouldn't have a problem with my friends borrowing a book from me, especially since they are going to be reading it in my home and not taking it with them.

my opinion is probably meaningless though, i don't ever have any guests except on the weekends (my mom won't let me have friends over during the school week) and when my friends and i have sleep overs we aren't reading.  :-\

JillyJ

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 380
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2012, 08:24:10 PM »
I just see books as such a good conversational point in life. They're spiritedly and heatedly debated over, people cry over them, laugh over them, fall in love over them, live their lives by them, study them, adapt them - books are truly the best friend one can have! I would think it's normal for a guest to look through the books to discover your tastes and find out more about their hosts.

I agree with this to a point - but that's not even close to what happened.  He walked in, started looking through the books, and then selected one and tossed it in the guest bedroom before he bothered to even walk down the hall into the rest of the house.

And just to settle a side-moot, I too agree that a guest of my s/o is as much my guest. Despite how little or how much I know him, I always welcome him with open arms and free-flowing beer! unless he's Chris. I hate Chris.

I don't know what I like best here, the term "side-moot" (might have to steal that), or your closing declaration of "unless he's Chris.  I hate Chris."


still in va

  • used to be gjcva1
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3517
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2012, 08:34:36 PM »
I just see books as such a good conversational point in life. They're spiritedly and heatedly debated over, people cry over them, laugh over them, fall in love over them, live their lives by them, study them, adapt them - books are truly the best friend one can have! I would think it's normal for a guest to look through the books to discover your tastes and find out more about their hosts.

I agree with this to a point - but that's not even close to what happened.  He walked in, started looking through the books, and then selected one and tossed it in the guest bedroom before he bothered to even walk down the hall into the rest of the house.

And just to settle a side-moot, I too agree that a guest of my s/o is as much my guest. Despite how little or how much I know him, I always welcome him with open arms and free-flowing beer! unless he's Chris. I hate Chris.

I don't know what I like best here, the term "side-moot" (might have to steal that), or your closing declaration of "unless he's Chris.  I hate Chris."

the bolded.  for me, tossing a book, even if it's a "lowly" paperback romance novel, isn't going to fly.  it's mine.  it's my book.  Chris treated my possession as something to be thrown around like trash.  Chris wouldn't be welcome to spend the night again in my home. 

Tilt Fairy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 632
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #50 on: March 22, 2012, 08:41:29 PM »
I just see books as such a good conversational point in life. They're spiritedly and heatedly debated over, people cry over them, laugh over them, fall in love over them, live their lives by them, study them, adapt them - books are truly the best friend one can have! I would think it's normal for a guest to look through the books to discover your tastes and find out more about their hosts.

I agree with this to a point - but that's not even close to what happened.  He walked in, started looking through the books, and then selected one and tossed it in the guest bedroom before he bothered to even walk down the hall into the rest of the house.

And just to settle a side-moot, I too agree that a guest of my s/o is as much my guest. Despite how little or how much I know him, I always welcome him with open arms and free-flowing beer! unless he's Chris. I hate Chris.

I don't know what I like best here, the term "side-moot" (might have to steal that), or your closing declaration of "unless he's Chris.  I hate Chris."

the bolded.  for me, tossing a book, even if it's a "lowly" paperback romance novel, isn't going to fly.  it's mine.  it's my book.  Chris treated my possession as something to be thrown around like trash.  Chris wouldn't be welcome to spend the night again in my home. 

Yes OP's guest did toss it rather nonchelantly didn't he? Not cool. Whatever anyone's feelings on guests, possessions, borrowing etc.. I think we can all agree that someone else's possessions should be treated with care and consideration. He shouldn't have thrown it. Taken it and cheekily said he fancied reading it to spice up his imagination before bed, fine, but I would never think rough-handling anyone's possessions whether it be a cartier bracelet or a dog-eared copy of the Hobbit is on. I treat anything anyone lends me as if it were fine glassware. My own possessions, pretty stupidly.

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5481
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #51 on: March 22, 2012, 08:57:21 PM »
It depends I guess.

Any bookcases in free view are for houseguests in my house. The guest room has it's own bookcase. I expect my guests to help themselves.

kareng57

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12225
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #52 on: March 22, 2012, 09:53:21 PM »
While I'll certainly agree that this particular guest was rude - I don't think that it's inherently rude to be interested in reading a book in the hosts' home, as a houseguest.  People who love reading are often the first to notice a book that seems interesting to them, after all.

Yes, of course they should ask, if possible.  But, if it's 2 am and they were attacked by insomnia and tiptoed downstairs to get a glass of water, I don't think they deserve to be cast into E-hell for picking up a book that they see on the shelf.  If I was the host I probably wouldn't be too happy with a knock on my door saying "hey, it's Harry, do you mind if I read the copy of Persuasion that I found?"  Just pick it up and mention it to me in the morning!  Of course guests should bring along their own reading material, but sometimes a book is a quicker-read than they were anticipating, or they found that the book was too dull to continue reading.

Also, I don't think that anyone should be expected to automatically know which books belong to which partner.  After all, when I still had Dh living here with me - anyone who assumed that the romance novels and the Jane Austen collection belonged to me would have been wrong....

Naturally, opinions differ greatly on topics like this.  I remember a discussion on E-hell a few years ago that involved a teenager reading a magazine that he'd picked out of the magazine rack during a visit, accompanying his parents.  But I'll confess that I can't remember who was upset - the parents, or the hosts.

O'Dell

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4372
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #53 on: March 22, 2012, 09:59:28 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?

It's weird that he glommed onto a romance novel straight in the door. Maybe he saw his chance to read one without people he sees daily knowing about it. Or maybe he's a closet fan and saw one he hadn't read? But that isn't rude.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

Talley

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 373
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #54 on: March 23, 2012, 02:34:58 AM »
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?

It's weird that he glommed onto a romance novel straight in the door. Maybe he saw his chance to read one without people he sees daily knowing about it. Or maybe he's a closet fan and saw one he hadn't read? But that isn't rude.
I find that a bit strange too. I mean, even if he saw a book he really wanted to read, neither he nor the book were going anywhere for a couple of hours, so he could have waited a bit before he borrowed one. It might have been less awkward then?

Regarding the ownership of books - I am learning lots of new things here, which is great! I was actually thinking about why I am so possessive of my books, and part of it is probably the nature of them (non-fiction, mostly history), the fact that they aren't cheap and that quite a few of them are older (40+ years old) and semi-rare. Borrowing one of those would have to be negotiated  :P  And there are a few that no one would be allowed to take out of the living room and read unsupervised (a lovely, very good condition two-part biography printed in 1834, for example). On the other hand, I do not see why I should have to hide away the books I don't want others to borrow either... Maybe I'm just weird.  :-\


MariaE

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4493
  • So many books, so little time
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #55 on: March 23, 2012, 04:56:56 AM »
Books, IMO, are something that should inherently be shared.  More so than almost anything else.  They are like air or water - one should never pollute or destroy these things, but truly no one can ever really own them.  I mean yes ultimately books are objects, but in the grand scheme of things books are by nature meant to be shared - otherwise why were the words written?  The author could have left them tucked away inside their brain.  By the act of writing the words, of publishing the book, of distributing the book, we know, know in our heart of hearts, this is something that must be shared and spread amongst all.

wow i dont think i could disagree more!  im willing (happy!)to share titles or authors but the physical books are mine - i want to have them so i can reread them like the old friends that they are. i dont loan books out because they NEVER ever come back the way they left  - and thats if they come back at all.  if i share a book its because i know i wont get it back and im ok with it

Ha Ha this is true isn't it? I don't think I've ever heard in the history of the world someone getting a book back when they've lent it out!

I'll be the first then! I loan out on average probably about a book a month - to family, friends and coworkers. I have never not gotten one back.

For the rest of it, I agree with WillyNilly - I wouldn't consider this "borrowing" either, as the book doesn't leave the house (I'm assuming).
 
Dane by birth, Kiwi by choice

lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3633
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #56 on: March 23, 2012, 08:39:16 AM »
I think what I find most interesting about this thread is the polar attitudes about books. People seem to either be very casual about them, willing to let people peruse, pick through, borrow, etc., or very protective of them. I fall in the first category and until reading this thread, it really wouldn't have occurred to me how strongly some people feel about it.

And coming from that point of view, I can imagine myself walking into someone's house for the first time and being confronted by a large bookcase full of books and being entranced by it. My thought process might follow something like this: "Hey! Books! I love books! Look at all these books!! I bet I can find something here I'd like to read tonight!"

Now, of course, the more polite thing to do would be to walk in and greet the hostess (Jilly) and chat a bit and then bring up the books and ask if it was ok if I looked through them and selected one for my evening's entertainment. But I can see myself (and your guest) getting caught up in the moment and forgetting myself.


jalutaja

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 173
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #57 on: March 23, 2012, 09:14:28 AM »
Now, of course, the more polite thing to do would be to walk in and greet the hostess (Jilly) and chat a bit and then bring up the books and ask if it was ok if I looked through them and selected one for my evening's entertainment. But I can see myself (and your guest) getting caught up in the moment and forgetting myself.

But in her first post the hostess DID write: "I greeted them at the door and said hello to the Gary.  A little bit of chit chat at the door and then my husband heads down to the kitchen. "

Only later she changed her story to the guest grabbing the books right away.

JillyJ

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 380
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #58 on: March 23, 2012, 09:48:13 AM »
Now, of course, the more polite thing to do would be to walk in and greet the hostess (Jilly) and chat a bit and then bring up the books and ask if it was ok if I looked through them and selected one for my evening's entertainment. But I can see myself (and your guest) getting caught up in the moment and forgetting myself.

But in her first post the hostess DID write: "I greeted them at the door and said hello to the Gary.  A little bit of chit chat at the door and then my husband heads down to the kitchen. "

Only later she changed her story to the guest grabbing the books right away.

I never changed my story.  I greeted them at the door and chatted as I mentioned.  An approximate 2-3 minute exchange.  A hug and a  Hey - how are you?  Nice to see you.  How was your travel? kind of exchange.  As they had just walked in with take-out Mr. J proceeded down "Book Alley" into our kitchen.  Gary never made it more than another 2 feet into the house before he spent easily 10 minutes going through the books and commenting on titles, reading book jackets aloud, and then borrowing and tossing said book.  The story has not changed at all.  I assumed when I figured out that what bothered me most was how quickly he just took possession of something that didn't belong to him, without so much as asking, that I didn't have to restate that we had had a brief chit chat before he did that.  I don’t think 2-3 minutes of hallway chat with anyone, let alone a guy neither my husband nor I have seen in more than a year, indicates a blanket, “Help yourself to whatever you’d like – you are, after all, our guest.” If he had followed my husband down the hall to the kitchen, checked out the cases on his way by and then during dinner had said, “Would you mind if I choose a book to read at bedtime?  Looks like you have quite the collection in there.”  I would have told him to go for it – and to not dog ear. LOL – I’m obsessed with the dog ear thing – a neurosis handed down to me from my father.

On the other hand, I do not see why I should have to hide away the books I don't want others to borrow either... Maybe I'm just weird.  :-\

Then I’m weird, too.   The whole concept of “fair game” just because it’s in viewing space kind of baffles me (and I’ve found the thread very interesting/educational, too).  As I’ve mentioned not having the books in view would mean not having the books at all.  It would never have occurred to me that by having the books in view I have surrendered the right to decide who gets to use them.  And granted most of the books that are in there it wouldn’t be the end of the world if someone “hurt” them, but there are definitely some that given the opportunity of responding to a request I would state, “I’d prefer you didn’t, that one is (rare/autographed/of great sentimental value, etc), but if you are interested in (topic of requested book), I have this (similar book) that you might find a great read.  I can think of only one person who would get a blanket "no" on touching any of my books, and that's a cousin of mine who borrowed a book from a series we both read and returned it mangled beyond recognition without so much as a sorry.  When I asked her what happened to it, she told me it got crushed in her luggage.  It was an $8 paperback, easily replaced, but that wasn't the point at all, as she didn't so much as offer to be the one to replace the book she pretty much destroyed.  She's never been allowed to borrow one of my books again.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 09:55:47 AM by JillyJ »

MariaE

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4493
  • So many books, so little time
Re: Houseguests and book "borrowing"
« Reply #59 on: March 23, 2012, 10:26:55 AM »
On the other hand, I do not see why I should have to hide away the books I don't want others to borrow either... Maybe I'm just weird.  :-\

I don't see that's necessary either - and I'm a big-time book loaner. But even though I'm delighted to loan out  most of my books, there are a few that I just won't - either because they are too tattered, too irreplaceable or just too valuable. Which books these are depend on whether the person will be taking them out of the house or a house guest reading them in bed.

The only books I think it's necessary to hide away (or put behind glass) are those that you (general) don't even want people to touch. Because I do think that's an unreasonable expectation. While I would always ask before borrowing a book, I wouldn't ask before touching one.
 
Dane by birth, Kiwi by choice