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...

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