When one of my friends recently came to me looking for something good to read I was a bit hesitant about what to lend her. I have been slowly working on converting this friend into a fantasy reader but we had a bit of a setback when I lent one of my favorite fantasy books, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and she returned it to me unfinished, saying it bored her. I was now afraid of scaring her off by giving her the wrong book, but the pressure was on to find just the right fantasy to keep her reading. I finally decided on another one of my favorites, The Warded Man by Peter Brett, though I really had no idea what her response to it would be.
To my delight, my friend returned the book to me several days later full of praise for The Warded Man and eager to read the sequel. That's when I realized that I hadn't thought this out fully enough. I should have expected that if my friend enjoyed the book she would ask me if I had the sequel as well. And I do have it. And it's a fantastic book. But it's also the personally autographed copy that I won from Peter Brett himself after doing some crazy stunt for a contest of his. Needless to say, this book has a special place on a high shelf where it sits in isolation, protected from grubby hands or jostling elbows.
I gently explained to my friend about the book and then, a bit reluctantly, told her that she could borrow it if she was very careful with it. But all the fuss I had made about the book caused my friend to become nervous understandably nervous about being responsible for it and so she asked if she could just borrow another book instead.
But now, several hours later, I realize how ridiculous I'm being. While it's really cool to have a personally autographed book, what good does the book do anyone if it just sits on a shelf unread? And considering how excited I was that my friend liked the book just much as I did, why would I not want to share the sequel with her as well?
So I've decided that tomorrow I'm going to take the book down from its shelf and bring it over to my friend's house where I will leave it for her without offering a single word of caution. Because, after all, isn't that what books are for?