I have a new theory of book-lending. I’ve always been extremely recalcitrant to lend out my precious, precious tomes. They are my babies. Letting someone else read them who certainly doesn’t appreciate them to the same degree, or in the same kind, is a risky proposition.
My current reading pile includes a heaping helping of Austrian Economics. I love this stuff. A sense of economics on this scale rewires your brain circuitry (what a crappy, ubiquitous brain-as-turing-machine metaphor) in subtle and not so subtle ways. It is some of the best non-fiction reading I’ve engaged in in years.
I have to lend these books out. I simply must. I’ve attempted to get others interested in them, with a little success. My brother, who is reliabel in returning books I’ve lent him unread, raved about Ron Paul’s The Revolution: A Manifesto, which got me started on this kick. I’ll next lend him Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. And I’ve gotten better about lending out other sacred cows; after the Watchmen trailer hit the web I lent my copy to a friend at work.
The realization, which has been slow in coming, dawns that I’ve read book X once, and the odds of me rereading it in the next few years are pretty slim. I can, therefore, safely risk the copy into the hand of others, where they can better and more frequently fulfill their functions as books. A book is at its best when its being read, when a man is bending his soul to the shape of another’s thought. The more capital I can pump into the marketplace of thought, the better served the consumers of that capital; not humanity, but flesh-and-blood humans. I’ve a couple books, mostly reference, that others can read only in the confines of my abode, but they are now the exception rather than the rule.