Essay: Would You Mind If I Borrowed This Book?

Never lend books, for no one ever returns them: the only books I have in my library are books that other folk have lent me.

—Anatole France

Of all the terrifying circumstances to which one's home is vulnerable, nothing equals that of a guest who stares straight at one's bookshelves. It is not the judgmental possibility that is frightening: the fact that one's sense of discrimination is exposed by his books. Indeed, most people would much prefer to see the guest first scan, then peer and turn away in boredom or disapproval. Alas, too often...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!