This is Jonathan Letham - he with the neat bookshelves in yesterday's entry - quoted in Unpacking My Library:
I hate lending, or borrowing -- if you want me to read a book, tell me about it, or buy me a copy outright. Your loaned edition sits in my house like a real grievance. And in lieu of lending books, I buy extra copies of those I want to give away, which gives me the added pleasure of buying books I love again and again.
I surely understand the idea of a borrowed book sitting as a grievance. I have one I borrowed from a neighbor, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, that rests on my bedside table that, honestly, I do want to read, but have just not gotten around to beginning it. I really must give it back.
As for lending books, even though I now have a library lending kit of my own (see it here), I may have learned my lesson. Oddly enough, of all the books that people have borrowed - and never returned - there are two that I wish I still had. I lent Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Fariña to a college dorm mate. Never saw it again. I doubt if I would even want to read it now, but still its loss rankles. Talk about keeping a resentment!
The other book was an early edition of Clifton Fadiman's Lifetime Reading Plan. I have since replaced it with a later edition, but I would like to have my first purchase back on my shelves. Well, just because...
I have one book that I read as a library book, The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton. I loved it and bought a copy of to give to a relative. I don't know if she ever read it or not - she said she did but she was prone to saying the nice thing which is different from the true thing. She eventually gave it back to me. I am glad to have it.
Is there a book you have borrowed and never returned that 'sits like a real grievance'? Or are your grieving the loss of a book that you lent to a someone?