Dear Picky Girl:
OK here is my problem… someone borrowed a book from me, and when I got it back it looked like it had been left out in the rain! It was an airport copy of The Help, larger than normal, with beautiful heavy paper and a gold trimming along the edges. I have never seen another copy like it in the shops. What should I do about this? What happens when someone returns a book to you in poor condition or worse still, doesn’t return the book at all?
A couple of things. First, if you haven’t read The Shadow of the Wind, do. In it, the main character is besotted by a particular book, but when he goes to find the author’s other works, he finds, instead, that someone has been destroying them, sometimes moments before he can get to them. Could your “friend” be somehow anti-The Help? (He/she wouldn’t be the only one.) Perhaps your friend began to feel guilty that instead of ruining your copy, he/she really should have just gone down to Barnes & Noble, dropped $150 bucks on a few hardbacks and tossed ’em in the toilets? So he/she returned yours to you in poor condition after retrieving it from the toilet bowl in a last ditch effort to remember your kindness in loaning the book in the first place. If there was not some ulterior motive to rid the world of this controversial book, I think the only answer remains in…
Fahrenheit 451. No, we won’t burn your friend. BUT. Remember the mechanical hound? In the novel, it was used to destroy those who caused trouble, kicked up some dust, flew in the face of government (why yes, I do know how to turn a phrase). How? It systematically hunted down the perpetrator and injected him with its choice of poisons intended to paralyze, stun, or kill its victim. Pleasant, right? Now, hear me out. You may like this person, but tell me this? Who would actually return a book in that condition?
Still not convinced? Ok, maybe next time, think twice before handing out a book you love – whether for its content or its aesthetic qualities. And maybe ask for insurance. Why not? Some people ask daycares to sign policies for their offspring. Why not do the same for books?
Hugs and Air Kisses,
The Picky Girl
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