A reading group posted about how unhappy they were about people who borrowed books and did not return them, or who returned them stained and tattered.
Perhaps I was like them once. Today, I don’t lend non-fiction for practical reasons. I need to refer to them when I write. But I lend fiction to anyone who requests a book, and if the book is not returned I forget about it.
I used to be an avid book-collector, and to some extent I still am, but that possessiveness of earlier days is gone.
When I went to teach in Rishi Valley, I took with me two suitcases–as so many things had to be packed for a stay that lasted several years, I could take only four or five books with me. The rest were stored in the house of a friend.
As time passed I realized I did not need those books. Those I liked were in my head, in my memories. Rishi Valley had a good enough library, so that I was never short of books to read. By the time I returned from there, half the stored books were lost. I did not mourn them, as their essence remained in me.
Today I once again have a large library as well as many on kindle, but my attitude to books has changed. Nothing is ever lost, even if I never see those books of the past.