N ever a borrower or a lender be. And I my darlings am both. It is books I borrow and books I lend and while other people barely notice bookshelves, I frequently have one eye on the person I am visiting and one eye on their bookshelves for long enough for them to take the hint that my life would be significantly improved if only they would be kind enough to let me take this book or that one home. Then there are the poor Darlings who come to my houses and in passing, mention a minor problem or too and find that in response I am scouring my bookshelves for the very book that contains the answer to all manner of emotional ills (usually this one) and when it is found, pressing it upon their person and insisting that they must read it or else how in the name of all that is abundant are they too to live an enlightened life?
Yes I am a bookish nightmare and all this relentless borrowing and lending leaves me with frequent problems. Namely a bookshelf full of books that don't belong to me and many, many missing copies of much adored books that trot off to soothe troubled souls and then find themselves permanent residents of other peoples houses. It's the kind of stuff that could keep a person up at night.
So imagine my delight when I happened upon The Borrowing Book from Beautifully Useful, a little something I simply didn't know I needed and which has quickly established itself as an essential factor in my newly-imagined library monitoring system. Oh yes, from now on I intend to be the kind of organised someone who is never in book debt and further more, never, ever again the kind of someone who has to call in the bailiffs to recall a lost book long lent.
The Borrowing book is one of two halves. The front for items borrowed and the back for items lent. Clare and Sarah at "Beautifully Useful" describe it such...
"The Borrowing Book is a beautifully useful place for noting down all the things you’ve borrowed or lent, so you can keep track of what’s where and whose it is!
While we borrow with the very best intentions, it’s terribly easy to lose track. Often, if we've had something for a while, it accidentally gets absorbed into ‘our stuff’ so that, all too easily, ‘that gorgeous handbag I borrowed’ morphs seamlessly into ‘my gorgeous handbag’. Horrifying when we realize what we've done, and the need for a gentle reminder can be so awkward for both borrower and borrowee."
Inside this grosgrain-ribboned delight, you will find space to note down the items borrowed or lent, alongside a gorgeous collection of quotes about sharing: some funny and some poignant but all carefully chosen to remind us that life is meant to be shared and that we are whole people when we allow generosity to be our life-force.
And so here I am: Lady Bountiful of the Books, with my very own copy of The Borrowing Book courtesy of Clare and Sarah. Come the New Year I intend to make this useful addition to HousekeepersCentral, a regular part of my Sunday evening organisation ritual, not only so that I can keep track of the books that come and go from Chez Brocante but can also track library books for all of us and make sure that the poor little boys charmed out of this and that by a wily little boy called Finley, are regularly re-united with their property...
Won't you do the same? Life is lovelier when it's organised isn't it?