I am an inveterate book thief. I don’t steal from bookshops or libraries – I’m not a complete monster – but if a family member or a friend leaves a book unattended, I’ll pick it up and begin to read it.
When I was a child, this habit got me into all sorts of trouble. Stack of dad’s fantasy epics? I think I will. Box full of romance novels in the basement? Yes, please. My parents made sure that I was well aware of the fact that some, many, all of those books inappropriate for a grade school student. That didn’t stop me from reading them. It just meant that instead of coming home to find that I had hidden drugs or alcohol under my bed, they found books.
For a while, I was able to feed this urge in a healthy way. I worked for a library, after all. I could check out as many books as I wanted then return them I soon as I was finished reading them. Now that I work for a publisher, however, I find myself bringing book after book home to keep. Advanced copies, reprints, books for review, anything. Everything. And once I have a book, I struggle to get rid of it. How do you throw away somebody’s children?
If nothing else, I suppose this is a great excuse for me to invest in some fancy bookshelves. But be wary; if I ever come visit you, lock up your books. Otherwise, you might find me curled up with one of them.
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This article was originally published August 10, 2016.