It turns out that all you need to create a National Day is to pick a day on the calendar, announce it and then spread the word.
Announcement: Today is National Return Your Friend’s Book Day.
Admittedly, my motivation for creating this National Day is a last ditch effort to let some of my dear friends know I’m missing precious treasures on my bookshelf that I lent them many months, even years ago. I know where these books belong, their memory lingers in the 1-2″ spaces on my bookshelf. But so much time has passed, there is no easy way to ask for them back.
And as far as I know there’s no statute of limitations for when a borrowed book transfers ownership, but that is too often how we play this dilemma.
I get the shame and embarrassment attached to waiting too long to give a book back. How does one broach the subject after so much time has passed?
I’m embarrassed that I even care. I like to think I’m a generous person and I love to loan out books. I’ve even forgotten many books or to whom I’ve handed them out. But there are a select few I remember and regret letting them pass out of my hands. I have spent time convincing myself that I would have/should have just given those books away anyway. Surely I would have bought those books for my friends. But recently, I admitted to myself that I’d be thrilled if they chose to give them back.
If I care so much about missing books, I should just go and buy them again, right? But there are physical aspects of each book that are surprisingly beloved. I remember that quote on the upper right-hand side that made a real impact – I dog-eared that page. I read that one on our vacation, the perfect souvenir of rest. There is the one I believed in and bought before everyone else did and I didn’t love the new design once it went big. There is the one that was touched my Grandma’s hands that I want it back in my hands. This nostalgia has no added value, I realize, but I can’t rid myself of sentimentalism when it comes to certain books.
Book lovers, you know this!
Confession: I’m an offender too. Writing this little post convinced me to comb my shelves for those books that, simply put, belong to another home. Here’s the note I wrote accompanying a book I’ve had on my shelf for over three years and am returning by post today. Perhaps you can use it as a template yourself. Change the words in red to suit your own situation.
I am returning your book What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, which I have held onto for far too long. You felt I should read this book as it is one of your favourites and I could tell you wanted to share in the joy it gave you. I feigned interest at the time, causing you to suggest I borrow your copy. I don’t doubt you wanted our conversation about Self-Talk Starters to continue after I’d read it. I accepted your gesture as a kind offer of friendship and had every intention to follow through on reading it for that reason. The truth is, even though I’m sure I could benefit from the wisdom in this book, it has not captured my attention or time in the way that it has yours. It turns out I prefer to talk to other people.
I would like to return this book to its proper place on your bookshelf. Forgive my thoughtlessness. You have been kind not to mention it, or maybe you couldn’t find the words. I hope my actions won’t stop you from lending it to someone who might need to learn to talk to themselves in the future.
Get your books back! Spread the word!