The Lending Library Is Closed

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Freedom .


I like to share my unusual taste in literature, particularly with my friends, many of whom I’ve lent some of my favorite books with nothing more than the request that they share their insights and have a short conversation with me about what they learned. I have a strange and unusual personal library, not counting the antiquarian books, which do not leave my home, even with the most trusted of friends.

Unfortunately, some of my favorite books aren’t finding their way back home.

It reminds me of when, as a high school sophomore working as an assistant in the library during study hall, I started reading Island of the Blue Dolphins and let a distant cousin borrow my pristine copy while I worked on an assignment that was due before my book report. After I hunted down said cousin to get my book back, I learned that he’d let a friend of his borrow it. That friend had finished the book and let another classmate borrow it. And I still had a book report due. I finally gave up all hope of ever seeing the book again and did a report on a different novel.

Almost a year later, while I was working in the library, a kid walked in to check in a book that didn’t have all the proper library stamps in it. Island of the Blue Dolphins. It didn’t belong to the library—it belonged to me. In hindsight, the kid probably thought I was some crazy librarian type who considered all the books to be “mine.” He couldn’t understand why I was yelling. It had been read by at least twenty different seventh-grade boys, and it literally fell apart in my hands.

You’d think I would’ve learned but I have such an unusual personal library that I just love to share it with anyone who “gets” my tastes in books.

And since my ex got The Elegant Universe in the divorce settlement, I guess I’ll have to buy another copy of that one.

There are others, too, that I want to read or re-read, but I’ve loaned them out. What was I thinking?! Oh, yeah….that I’d get them back, with some interesting conversation to spare. I know it’s possible some of the borrowers have lost my number or my email address, but I swear I’m not hard to find. In some cases, I’m in the building next door.

Flying By Night novel

So to those people who currently have my books, I’m sending out a little zing to the books to remind their hosts to let them come home when they’re done. Here goes. If a book on your shelf starts vibrating, you’ll know it’s me!

To Keith, if the book on rhetorical analysis hasn’t gotten you into law school yet, sweetie, it’s not going to. Just ship it back. Don’t return it in person. I don’t want to see you again. And if it did get you into law school, you should know that I’m not real fond of lawyers these days anyways.

To Stacey, who has my books on verbal abuse and some on…I don’t remember…men you shouldn’t date? I’m glad to hear from other people that you found the books helpful, but leaving them with other people who live 20 miles away in hopes I’ll pick them up one day is not the same as returning them to me. I still don’t have the books back. Though I don’t really need them any longer, it would be nice to welcome them home. There was someone at work today who could have used them.

To Kat, who has probably a dozen of my basic Wicca and Goddess books, I’m in no hurry to get them back, but eventually, I’d like to add them back to my library. If you’ll read them meanwhile, that would be great….

To Jenna, no problem, hon. I know you’re still using that boatload of books on the Mayans to write your novel, but when you’re done, please return them and shoot me a nice, long email telling me what you thought of the different books. Or, if I see you first at the convention in Daytona, let’s have a drink and talk about Mayan calendars and hairless cover boys.

To Aud, if you’re done with that 6-DVD set of CSI, I’d like to sell it on eBay.

To my former minister of music, I want my sheet music back! You never cared for Bach or Pachelbel, and I know I don’t play the pipe organ anymore, but “borrowing” my music because you disapproved of its place in a “hick” country church and you needed to “misplace” it so I couldn’t play the preludes I’d intended, well, that’s just not acceptable to me these days. When you get out of jail for molesting that little boy, I want the sheet music back. I have a feeling your career with the church is over anyway. I certainly hope so.

To Maureen, I really do want my Riverside Shakespeare edition back some day. Yes, the book cost $75 back in 1983, it gave me back problems from having to lug it to my 10 a.m. Shakespeare class every Monday through Friday, and there are more recent editions, but my notes in the margins are invaluable to anyone who loves Shakespeare. And especially valuable to me because I had a wonderful professor with so any great insights. You can drop it off at my mom and dad’s house. It’s only a 10-minute drive away.

To The Treat, I’d still really like to see that book on chakras again. I know, I know. You told me you’d borrowed books from an ex-date-slash-High-Priestess who was about to put a curse on you for losing her books and I’d joked that I’d protect you. And I know you were planning to buy a chakra book from B&N that night you left my house so excited, but I knew they’d only have crap that wasn’t nearly as good as the book I had and I insisted you take it, but I thought you’d finish it in a week or two. That one I do need back because it’s a hard-to-find book and it’s pertinent to my life right now. And the last thing you need, boy, is two High Priestesses mad at you. Besides, if I see your smiling face behind the book when you return it personally and you tell me scientifically what you think of the chakra system, all will be forgiven. I promise. Because I’m really hoping to collaborate with you on a book on science and magick someday.

To Ashton, sweetie, when you’re done with that armload of paperbacks, just pass them along to a classmate who’ll enjoy them as much as you have. I don’t need them back, don’t have the room, and maybe they’ll stir up some new fans for those authors. Or maybe pass them over to Kat. She’d like them.

To Craig, I really miss The Wall. And I know you weren’t that big a fan of Pink Floyd.

To Willie, you’ve pissed me off now. Stop pestering me for freebies. You net six figures, for Pete’s sake. If you’d really love to read my latest novel, then buy a copy. Anything else is lip service.

To Amy, yes, please do return those eight books on…you know. I know this sounds crazy, but I think I’m going to need them again.


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