I once stole a book. From the library. Which almost seems worse somehow. I adore libraries. I love the idea of them and the actual physical presence of them. I love that a long walk, short bike ride or quick drive from my house takes me to this magical place where I can borrow books of all sorts. Even better is the perk of this crazy age we live in where I can log into the library site from anywhere and request books, that my little town library doesn’t have, but will happily get from any of the libraries in our rural county or either of the much larger neighboring counties. The downside, is of course, that somehow those books always seem to all arrive at the same time.
One of my favorite author’s is Madeleine L’Engle. Who, thankfully, has written quite a number of books. However, in order to postpone as long as possible the imminent day when I will have read her entire catalog, I’ve implemented a ration so to speak and only allow myself to read a new book or series of hers every couple years. It helps that many are rather hard to find or out print, making it a bit of a scavenger hunt to watch for them in used book shops.
Somewhere around 8 years ago I grabbed a copy of one of her less popular, but not impossible to find novels from the library. Upon opening the otherwise unremarkable and not in that great of condition hardcover, I discovered I was autographed on the title page. Apparently authentically from the looks of it. After finishing the book and angsting over it a bit, I inquired at the library, what the impact would be if I couldn’t find it to return. A quick search from the librarian and she noted I could pick up an identical copy or pay them for the lost copy, their preference being the first option. She even noted that there the copy they had was nothing special, so as long as I picked up the same book all was well. A quick check at Powell’s a couple weeks later resulted in new used copy for the library and just like that I had another Madeleine L’Engle addition for my library. And an autographed one at that with the stamp of the library on the binding.
I’d almost forgotten about this incident until I read the suggested writing prompt for the 500 words a day writing challenge that suggested making a confession. Ironically enough, upon writing this I feel a bit guilty about the whole thing. I’m sure there’s a possibility of analyzing that further, but for now I’m mostly kicking myself a bit that when packing up my books a few weeks ago I didn’t make a point to take another look at this one. Alas, now it is safe and well buried among the many boxes that make up my book collection and currently live in storage. I’m also pretty sure it’s one of only 2 or 3 autographed books that I own. The other memorable one being the 7th Harry Potter book that I bought at the Powell’s release part and waited in line for at midnight and then waited in another line to have the Powell’s hired actors playing Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall sign, but that’s a whole other story.