Friday, July 23, 2010

Throw the Book at Him

ERFG, I'm tired and I really just want to go to bed and I'm only here because I'm obsessive and feeling sheepish about the fact that there's been no Biblio and hardly any Mama here lately. So, this. Guy steals a bunch of rare books worth a million pounds, goes to jail for four years, gets out and steals more books, goes back to jail for three and a half years. They call him The Tome Raider which, god help me, I find amusing. Clearly they're not going to call him the Einstein of the book thieving world, although who knows, maybe he just wanted to go back to jail to catch up on his reading. I looked up the definition of 'biblioklept' in a variety of dictionaries and was fairly dismayed to find the pedestrian description 'someone who steals books', not quite conveying the irresistible nature of the compulsion that I always imagine such people must feel. Some people steal them to sell them, true, but some people steal them just so they can have them and love them and pet their smooth covers and name them george. I don't think I've ever stolen a book. Once I lost a Sue Grafton mystery from the Hamilton Public Library, so I bought another one to replace it and when I brought it in the librarian (totally stereotypical) said sniffily 'we're not your own personal bookstore, you know', which was idiotic, because if I'd wanted to buy the book I would have just bought the book, because I HAD just bought the fucking book to replace the book I lost. Yes, I will BECOME a librarian to right travesties of justice such as this.

When I worked at this adorable bookstore in Toronto, there was one crazy guy who would always call up and dictate extravagant lists of rare and hard-to-find books for us to buy for him. Then his mother would call us back and tell us to ignore him (he wasn't a kid. He just had -- and perhaps needed -- one of those mothers). Then he came in a few times and got caught stuffing books under his shirt and trying to leave. Then he became sort of abusive and threatening and started hammering the counter yelling about what a great customer he was. Then my friend Kathy, who was very sweet and demure, yelled back "No you're not! Good customers don't yell at the staff and steal stuff!" Ah, I miss it.

I just finished reading this and I am now reading this, resulting in an unintended convergence of Jewish stuff -- I bought the first to fill in a 'classics gap' and got the second from the library because I heard the author interviewed on the radio. I find Judaism fascinating, although my knowledge of it is shallow and riddled with lacunae (fun word), and I hate the word 'Jewry', I don't really know why. The philosophy in the second frequently leaves me behind in the dust, coughing on expressions like the 'is-ought gap' and the like. Basically I'm getting that Spinoza pissed off a lot of other Jews by thinking what he thought, but I'm still wrestling with what, exactly, the things he thought were. Maybe it's because it has to do with Pure Reason and honey, my reasoning ain't never been pure.

Gah, it's twelve-fucking-thirty, how the hell did that happen? We saw Inception tonight, speaking of getting left in the dirt by philosophical questions, then picked up the kids at my parents and spent the drive home having a conversation including questions like "but why did they miss the first kick? Did they CHOOSE not to wake up? And why didn't the floating guy wake up, since he was on the second level, not the third? And if there was no gravity, how did the elevator do that?", and then I had to explain science fiction at an hour and a half past bedtime, which was fun. And now I should go to bed so I can go watch the first District finals baseball game in the morning and not look hungover, which would result in trying to decide if it's more embarrassing to pretend I did drink too much tonight or admit that I just look hungover because I'm old and stayed up too late writing a stupid blog post.

10 comments:

Rachel Cotterill said...

Love the library/bookshop stories! :) Must go to Inception, I've heard a lot about it.

Ninja Mom said...

I think I have a slight idea from reading this post what it must be like to live in your head ;) Quintessential late night rambling thoughts - gotta love em.

Amber (woodmouse) said...

I stole books. Tons. When I was a child I stole them from elementary school. Then as an older child and teenager I stole them from the library. It wasn't as if I was book starved (well, okay I was) but my parents would never buy me as many as I wanted. I've redeemed myself by donating my entire collection to the public library (half was theirs anyway - ha!) and haven't stolen any as an adult.

Amber said...

I am so impressed by how much reading you do. It takes me like 3 months to finish a book, and not a long one. But I read a lot of blogs, so maybe that's why.

Anyways, on a slightly related note I got caught taking a photo of a grocery bag for my blog today. Explaining THAT to the 60-something lady who caught me was super-fun, let me tell you. The non-bloggy people, they don't understand.

Kelly said...

I stole books from the library for most of my pre-teen through early teen years. I picked up the habit back up in college, though it was a short run.

I stole the books as a kid because we had too many late fines that we couldn't pay, so that was the only way to take books home. I did it in college because ... I wanted to? It was always freaky books like picture books of STDs.

Yes, I have matured a lot since then!

Julie said...

interesting to see you have a strong clepto following.

never stole books. and i'm with strocel. how do you read so much!? i'm in awe of you.

love the "call him george" reference!

Betsy B. Honest said...

Never stole a book. Though I have dropped plenty in the bath.

Julie said...

ERFG? Um... I dont' get it.

SuziCate said...

I now realize what has been missing from my life this summer...I haven't taken the time to read a single novel, and I bought one a few weeks ago. Thanks for the inspiration, I am going to start that book tonight!

The Mayor! said...

HA, Tome Raider, I LOVE it!! I read six books during my week at the cottage...amazing the reading I can fit in when there's no computer, TV or phone to distract!! My son & I hit the library before we left, we took more books than we did clothes LOL...It was BLISSFUL! I worked at Coles in T.O. for a couple years, definitely some odd requests come in...& even odder customers...us bookworms ARE a strange breed!