It’s kind of weird, but I have to admit that I get kind of annoyed when other people read my books before I have a chance to read them first myself. It’s unreasonable of me to feel this way, of course, and the way I counter this reaction is exactly by giving people permission to read my books if they ask. But it still tends to grate on me, nonetheless. ((And no, this is _not_ a veiled attempt to dissuade folks from reading my books; you know who you are.))
It boils down, I think, to the fact that I’m such a bibliophile. I love books, I love to read, I love to experience new worlds, and as such books are inherently valuable to me. Books are, quite possibly, the most important physical possessions I own. I take care to make sure that the books in my personal library remain as undamaged as possible. In some ways, I almost feel like books are an extension of myself, as though they are manifestations of various aspects of my personality, interests, and desires.
So, when someone asks to read one of _my_ books that _I_ haven’t even had a chance to read yet, I feel threatened and jealous, even though such a feeling is unwarranted and unjust. _I_ want to be the one to read my own books first; in fact, I don’t have this reaction when someone tells me they’ve already read a different copy of the book. Apparently, it’s simply my own copy of the book that I feel so possessive about. ((I actually remind myself sometimes of Calvin Tower in Stephen King’s _Dark Tower_ series, though to a lesser degree of fanaticism.))
For those of you who frequently borrow my books, please feel free to continue doing so. And for anyone wishing to make donations to my personal library, I prefer speculative fiction.