Book Loaning and a Recommendation

I’m not a fan of people loaning me books. I know that’s a little crazy, but I prefer to buy them so I can read at my own pace. I like keeping them on my shelf after I’ve finished reading, and if there’s a book I don’t want on my shelf, I move it to my classroom shelf or exchange it for XBOX games at Bookman’s.

Now, I can’t have you thinking I’m a snob, so let me explain. When I loan a book to someone, I’m sharing something precious. Something I want back in good shape (don’t dogear my pages, please). Something I want them to enjoy as much as I enjoyed.

That’s a lot of pressure.

I’ve gotten better over the years, but until I’ve built a book-loaning rapport with a friend, I imagine all of the horrible ways they’re going to abuse my generosity; I see the prized cover art with ketchup dripping on it – to be stained into the page as a careless hand tries to wipe away the truth that it didn’t respect the loan.

Part of the reason I don’t want to borrow books is because I want to respect the loan without disrupting my life. I want to get it back in a timely fashion, which can’t always happen without giving up other parts of life. I want to tell the lender that it was the best book I’ve ever read, when the truth usually isn’t that.

It’s just easier to buy the book myself.

That being my philosophy on borrowing, I wasn’t all that jazzed when a fellow teacher told me that I had to read DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. She described the book as similar to HUNGER GAMES. It’s a post-apocalyptic dystopia set in futuristic America. She described the world as being divided into four factions: erudite, candor, dauntless and abnegation. At the age of 16, each person in Veronica Roth’s world has to decide which of those four factions he/she will belong to, and then undergo serious training to become a full-fledged member of the chosen faction. However, choosing a faction isn’t easy; our narrator, Tris, has to decide whether she should remain true to herself or her family. Leaving her family behind in Abnegation may mean that she’ll never talk to them again. The story is told in 1st person present tense (see how it’s like HUNGER GAMES), and is a relatively easy read. The pace is a little slower than HUNGER GAMES, but certainly doesn’t drag.

Sounds like an excellent book that I’d totally be into, right?


Still, I was hesitant to take it in hand when the teacher walked into my classroom and told me to borrow it.


Can’t I just buy it?

Of course not.

So… wanting to respect my lender, I got to reading it right away.

It took me a little over a week, but I’ve finished, and definitely went out and bought my own copy (mostly to loan to others). It’s good enough for that. I even bought the hardcover 🙂

I cried a lot in the last hundred pages, which was awesome. Belive it or not, I love crying when I read. I love hiding away from the world, and melting into a puddle of, “That’s so saaad.” *Sniff.

My only complaint about the book was a moment when I understood something that Tris did not. Brigid Kemmerer once wrote on her blog that “No one wants to spend 400 pages with an idiot,” which is exactly how I felt about Tris for awhile. The rest of the story was so good, though, that I was willing to overlook Tris’s foolishness. The world is exciting, new and thought-provoking. It causes you to wonder whether you’d choose to be in dauntless, abnegation, erudite or candor. It reminds you of the Hogwarts houses more than a little, but I’d definitely go with Dauntless and Hufflepuff, which doesn’t make any sense at all.

Hurrah! So, you should give DIVERGENT a try. It’s part of a series, and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens to Tris.


8 thoughts on “Book Loaning and a Recommendation

  1. It does seem like a good read, despite the fact that the narrator is foolish–it brings back memories of Ashley in RE4 and how she’s totally useless.

    And I dislike loaning books for much the same reason; I don’t trust people.

  2. Finger smudges.

    You know the ones. It looks like the reader had been eating a whole bag of Doritos while they were reading. They also had the compulsive urge to touch every single square inch of every single page…

    My stomach is turning just thinking about it.

    And then there are those people who dog ear, not just the corner, but the whole upper corner. One quarter of the book is thicker because they have left all the dog ears folded as they read. And it easy to tell that they are a stop and go reader.

    Then there’s those folks who seem to think the can just open a book wide open. Well past the 180 degree limit they are designed for. They may even leave it wide open in the middle of the book for days. A “bubble” or bulge seems to form in between those pages on the spine whenever you try to close it.

    Those tiny little rips near the binding? When they turn the pages too aggressively.

    Or even how they turn the pages. It’s almost as if they pinch the middle of the page and throw it off to the side like a dirty pair of underwear…

    :::deep breath:::

    Yes, Katie, that sounds like a pretty cool book. I may have to check it out one day.

  3. The finger smudges are the worst.

    I dislike loaning somebody a book, they read it and we talk about it, and mysteriously the book was never in their position. I’ve learned to stop lending the really awesome books out. If i didn’t I would never see them again.

    Have you given The Passage a go?

    • I have not read THE PASSAGE. Who’s it by?

      I feel like the spinebreakers are the worst. The ones who leave the book open for days and intentionally break the spine to give it that worn feeling.

  4. I totally understand about loaning out books and those unwritten rules. I became loan shy when at a young age I was given this huge writing ledger, as a gift, to write my stories and I wrote my first official long version story and loaned it to friends to read. When I finally got it back-after a very long time, the book covers were torn, dog ears, water smudge on my handwritten pages-it was in bad shape. Needless to say I cried about it (my new book was ruined and that was the only copy of my story) that they did not take care of something that was so precious to me. So now I try not to loan books out to anyone but I recommend people get their own copies.

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