We have detected you are using an outdated browser.

Kindly upgrade your version of Internet Explorer or use another browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Etiquette of Reading and Exchanging books

Other than Social Media, football and politics, we are happy to announce that there is a minority group of people whose existence is threatened by the majority who fall in the above categories. These are readers.  Since this group has really been neglected, with no affirmative action or talks on the same, they have no rules to govern themselves. To ensure they thrive, they have devised ways to survive amongst themselves and co-exist. One of such ways is to exchange books amongst themselves to save on cost. However, because of the neglect mentioned above, they have not been able to draft official rules to govern their co-existence. Regardless of the absence of rules, they still have expectations of each other as they exchange the books. The expectations are barely written; only written in their faces. Such expectations include:

I expect it back

Every time someone gives you a book, this is what they are saying silently; ‘please ensure you return it’. However, we have not done well in this practice. Nearly all my books which I have given out have not been returned. This happens even when you employ other measures such as threats and intimidation. I think it is high time the government came up with an agency called ‘Borrowed Books Collection Agency” to help collect books which have been borrowed and hoarded. I am also not seeking justice with clean hands, there are some books I have been given and I have not returned. This, I greatly apologize for and promise to improve. To reduce chances of heartbreaks relating to unreturned books, perhaps you could attach a premium like; ‘I never give books, I only exchange” or that you only lend books upon payment of a fee. When you do this, at least, the other person will also have some pain of not having their book or money at the expense of yours.

Please cover it.

When someone lends you their book and it is not covered, they are silently telling you to read and cover it. Even though they cannot mention this out-rightly, this is what is hidden in their forlorn smile. Most of us, again are quite guilty of this, because we just find it enjoyable to read the book and return it as it was. This is not fair. That’s a small way to say thank you for someone who has generously shared the knowledge with you.

Please use a Bookmark: don’t fold pages.

How demeaning is this! Imagine if a book is read by 13 people, all with the habit of folding pages as they read along. How will it look like? Do you see what I mean? Juxtapose this with someone who uses a bookmark, leaves it in a page and picks from there when they resume. Which one tastes better to you?

Please read it!

Some people borrow books for the purpose of borrowing. Once they have the book, they take photos of the pages and them on Social Media with captions, ‘My current read’. Or they take aerial ‘selfies’ with the book to show that they are also ‘readers’. In actual sense, they never read. It is not necessary to talk or post about every book you are reading. If you are reading, we will just see it in how you relate with us.

Discuss the book with me

As you read the book, and you find a striking line in the book, please send me a text message and tell me how you feel. If it is a lesson you have learnt, thank me for my kindness to help you with the book and how it has helped you. That way, you encourage me that I didn’t make a wrong decision in giving you the book. You also encourage me that we could read together moving forward. This way, you remind me of the contents of the book. At least, this will give me another reason to give you a book next time, other than for the only reason of pity. This way, I will also be sure that indeed you have read the book.

  1. 6. Do a review

Once you have finished reading a book, it is only human to do a review of it and either post in your social media, send to the owner of the book, or share with others who might find the book interesting. This way, we create a community of readers, those who can talk about something worthwhile. It starts from creating a community of readers.

A person who reads, is one who reasons, so feel encouraged, keep reading.

Gabriel Dinda, is an ardent reader and a student of Masters of Applied Philosophy and Ethics and Graduate Assistant at School of Humanities and Social Sciences.  Email: gdinda@strathmore.edu

If you would like to join a community of readers at Strathmore University, write to writingcentre@strathmore.com