Saturday, October 13, 2007


Or, questionable provenance. My code for "stolen books". The dirty secret's out. I am an honest woman, a reformed woman (in that respect, anyway), but in my personal library thing, there exists a handful of books obtained through dishonest means.

These ill-gotten items are a remnant of a spell in my mid to late teens (I was a minor, for those of you thinking of calling the po-po or five-o...or homeland security for that matter). I have no justification for my thievery, but I've thought a lot about why I took the books. I used and loved libraries (a few of the books are from libraries) so it's not like I didn't understand the free borrow and return, reusable community resource concept.

Out of curiosity, I did some shallow digging about commonly stolen books. Common, of course, is relative. I'm unfamiliar with all but three of the authors commonly lifted from b&n. Public libraries commonly lose how-to books. Dictionaries and poetry books are the first to disappear in correctional facilities (followed by the how-to's). Folks steal "immoral" books to keep them out of the hands of others. How moral. I wonder if they have ties to the Bible nabbers--another hot title.

Some of my bibliobooty probably registered in my mind as "cool old books", but the majority fall in line with the how-to's and poetry. My motivation was hardly lofty or meant to impress. I see these books as mementos. Anchors. I know that life back then felt incredibly impermanent, and one thing that I felt semi-solid about was writing and appreciating those who did it well. I also had a great English teacher who loved literature and writing. His criticism was constructive, and his praise was hard won, but deserved. He had high praise for Sheridan Baker (RIP).

So, there you have it. Think of me what you will.

[Ha! There are two mentions of stealing in the Amazon customer reviews of The Practical Stylist! ]

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