06 December 2007

Polonius was wrong.

I got a rather thought-provoking mass e-mail yesterday from my friend Anna, and with her permission I'm sharing it with the class. Anna had a problem that you've probably had before:
Hi all,

I recently was tearing my shelves apart in a search for LIFE OF PI and vaguely remembered lending it to someone a while back. Then I recalled that I had lent quite a few books out over the last few years and hadn't kept track at all, nor did I have any recollection of which books I had lent or to whom I had lent them. Smart.

Anyway, I'm sending this to everyone I could think of with a remote a chance of having borrowed a book from me in recent years. This isn't a demand to give them back; but please just let me know if you have something so I can get a list going.

But if you have LIFE OF PI - give it back! (Please!)
Who among us has not found a book misplaced in our hour of need? Luckily for Anna, this story has a semi-happy ending -- her mom put the book in storage, so it has been located even if it isn't immediately accessible. But friends, what system do you use to keep track of books lent? Like Anna, I have no system. (And it wouldn't have occurred to me to write a mass e-mail -- I'd most likely just stew about it in private.) One of those clever little notebooks? Bookplates? A crazy spreadsheet? A program like LibraryThing or GoodReads? And do you lend more, or borrow more?


Emily said...

I started using book plates about six years ago because my favorites were vanishing as fast as I could "lend" them. Judging by the fact that almost none of my current collection bears a book plate, I'd say it didn't work.

Anna said...

I think my main problem is that I tend to lend books to people when they are at my apartment and I am drunk. "OMG YOU HAVEN'T READ ____!?!?" *stumble over to bookshelf*

These things are hard enough to remember without alcohol!

(I don't think I was drunk when I let my mom borrow "Life of Pi," however.)