Friday, September 28, 2012

shoplift lit list


in one of those long, convoluted series of clicks, i stumbled upon a rather old (1999! - so last century) article from the new york observer by ron rosenbaum. it's about which books reside in the shoplifting section of a barnes & noble in NYC - they're on a special shelf where you have to ask the cashiers for them, because they are stolen so often that it's a problem for the store. the article is clever and witty and you should go read it, especially since i'm not going to go into the whole thing here.

what i am going to go into is my own personal list of books that i consider so essential that i would risk the incredible stupidity that is shoplifting to own them. but only if, for some bizarre reason, i had no other choice. i should note that i am actually really opposed to shoplifting and think it's a lame and not very nice thing to do, so i am in no way advocating the shoplifting of these or any other book (or makeup or trinkets or hair thingies or socks or razor blades (which are apparently the most shop-lifted item) or anything else). and really, what with libraries, we should, in theory, never have to shoplift any books at all. however, i will still make the list. because i love lists. and since now i've been going on and on about it for this long...

~ charlotte's web by e.b. white.  this classic has made countless children cry themselves to sleep.

~ little women by louisa may alcott. if i were one of the little women, i'd be jo (wouldn't we all?).

~ brothers karamazov by fyodor dostoevsky. i would not only shoplift this book, but if i was allowed only one book in the universe, ever again, 'til the end of my life, this would be the one. it has it all...god, the devil, patricide, crazy brothers, saintly brothers, intellectuals, philosophy, religion and the grand inquisitor.

~ the bean trees by barbara kingsolver. i read this for the first time when i was in macedonia and it transports me there in a good way. tho' the book has nothing whatsoever to do with macedonia.

~ murakami - pretty much anything he's written, tho' especially wind-up bird chronicle and hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world

it occurs to me that in a way, this is just a list of favorite books, but somehow, the shoplifting twist changes it a bit for me. it's not only favorites, but books you'd be willing to sacrifice yourself for, or encounter danger (sort of) for. books for which you'd take a risk. and that somehow seems different than mere favorites. tho' they are that as well.

what book(s) would make you turn to a life of crime?


will said...

Time modifies such a list. For years I considered Sometimes A Great Notion by Ken Kesey as one of my favorites. Recently I attempted to re-read it and I couldn't finish it.

What I do return to and I suppose I would shoplift are books of art and photographs. Sam Maloof Woodworker, The Soul of a Tree (George Nakashima), The FSA collection of Walker Evans, Imogen! (Imogen Cunningham), Diane Arbus, Grand Illusions by Richard Lawson and any Ansel Adams book.

jordi said...

Wolf Hall, I loved it so much that I read it a second time before starting Bring Up the Bodies. Then I got a puppy and reading took second place to housebreaking etc. Now I may go ahead and read it a third time before I finally get to start Bring Up the Bodies. I have a weakness for the book of Diebenkorn's Ocean Park Series also. If I needed to be referring to older loves, The Sound and the Fury and Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles, though that is 7 books long and I don't have enough room for all of them in my concealed pockets said...

Good enough to shoplift? To Kill a Mockingbird.

c is for cape town said...

50 Shades of Grey is the most heavily shop-lifted book our major book store chain has ever recorded, and they reckon it's because people are too ashamed to buy it in public.
Now there's another interesting list - books you'd be too embarrassed to actually buy but secretly want to read or have enjoyed.
Top of my list would be anything by Jilly Cooper ...

julochka said...

Bill - you're right, i'd probably already have a different list today than the day i wrote this...especially now that you mentioned photography books (tho' those would be harder to slip under your sweatshirt).

Paula - agreed.

M - i went through a jilly cooper phase, but it was all borrowed!! oh, rupert campbell black...*sigh*