Isn’t it surprising when people don’t return books? I have lost Norman Rush’s Mortals, the complete poems of Thomas Hardy in a two-volume edition I loved, an edition of Keats ditto, Michel Leiris’s Manhood, my first copy of Infinite Jest, José Saramago’s Blindness, most of the novels of Evan Connell, Yukio Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask … the list goes on. It happens. And apparently I’ve been the culprit, too. (My college library tracked me down a few years ago looking for a missing volume of Bleak House—some fifteen years and four apartments after the fact.) I have friends who never lend books for exactly this reason, but I think it’s worth it. A book on the shelf is just waiting to die. And books die: They fall apart. So do their owners. It makes me sad to think that I may be the last person to read some book I own. My suggestion to you is that you keep lending with an open hand. Make peace with the chance that you may not—the certainty that you will not—always get your books back. One nice thing about books is how easy they are to replace.