I left a book in an airport trolley a few days ago and as soon as I realised, felt totally devastated. I had about sixty pages to go, it was a wonderful book and I was completely and utterly engrossed.
I immediately put out an alert on Facebook.
Help. I’ve lost my book ‘The Female Persuasion’, author Meg Wolitzer. If anyone has a copy – please please can I borrow it.’
My cry for help was met by a deathly silence. Well, it got two likes which was a bit silly because there was nothing to like, I LOST A BOOK, but still.
Nobody offered me their copy.
Hmmm, I thought. Fools. They don’t know Meg Wolitzer. She is the most wonderful author, witty, funny, engaging, and this book, oh god, this book touches on everything about women today – sexuality, sex, feminism, #MeToo, confusion, fabulousness, everything.
It’s fantastic. And I had lost my copy.
That evening I was chatting to a friend.
‘Can you believe no-one wants to lend me their book,’ I said. ‘Buncha cunts.’
Meg Wolitzer, by the way, uses the word cunt a lot in her book. It’s kind of why I love her.
‘Violet,’ she said very quietly. ‘Remember the Joan Didion I lent you? I don’t think you’ve given it back yet.’
‘It’s next to my bed darling. I will return it. Why? Are you in a hurry?’
‘Uh, no, just a gentle reminder.’
And then I stopped dead in my tracks.
I remembered a book I had borrowed from a woman in my yoga class. It was following a conversation and she’d said:-
‘Oh Violet, you must read this book it’s brilliant, I have a very special copy, it’s old and fragile. But please borrow it.’
Thank you so much, I had said, and of course I will give it back to you.
Shit, I suddenly thought. I’d had the book for months and hadn’t read it. Or returned it. Or even seen it for a while. Shit shit shit.
I jumped off the couch and started looking.
I found lots of other interesting things including the silver bullet vibrator that I thought was long gone and how lovely it was still charged and amazing, but – nope, no book.
It was nowhere to be found.
And I realised what I had done.
A little pavement library popped up in my neighbourhood a few months ago and I’d taken a pile of books to put inside it. And I didn’t mean to, and I hadn’t realised I had done it, but – her book was in my pile.
The pavement library works on a ‘help yourself’ basis. Take anything you want. Replace if you can. Enjoy. Read. Take another one.
The book is long gone and I have no way of tracking it down.
I am one of those cunts, just like Meg Wolitzer says.
I cannot put out another alert on Facebook, I will lose the few friends I have left.
And I am frantically looking for a copy online.
It’s called ‘The Sunburned Queen,’ author Hazel Crampton.
I cannot tell you if it’s good or not, I haven’t read it.
And while you’re at it, ‘The Female Persuasion.’
In case you find either of them. I promise I’ll look after them.
I am a terrible person to lend things to.
It’s not acceptable, I know.
But this is a cry for help…