Good morning bookies! Stand by for news.
It’s a bit drippy in Memphis today and book news is slow.
*** Whenever I mention stolen books to people who are not in the book business, either as sellers or librarians or even author, they are inevitably surprised that book thieves are a major problem. Apparently the belief is that books are somehow sacred to everyone and nobody would steal them. If that’s what you believe then let me disavow you of the notion right now. Even in Memphis, our little corner of the world, there are book thieves. Yes, it’s hard to believe. Yes, they are little better than vermin. But they do exist. And I know that sounds awfully harsh on my part, but books are my friends, almost as if they were sentient. (And if you’re a fan of Jasper Fforde you can understand that maybe they are sentient) Stealing a book is much like kidnapping and should be treated as such. Where’s the FBI when you need them?
When I ran my brick and mortar shop theft was a real problem. One particularly valuable book that was lifted I tracked down. I know who stole it, when, who they sold it to, how much they were paid, where the book was then resold, how much it was resold for (about 25% of its value) and who now owns it. What’s more, the scumbag who lifted it knows that I know. Or, if he didn’t before, he does when he reads this. That’s right, I know who did it. Even at this moment I am looking for a book that should be here but isn’t. Was it lifted before the shop closed? Could be. If I don’t find it I may never know.
So when I run across a story like the one in this article, it makes me quite happy to pass this on. One day, no doubt, I will read about one of Memphis’ notorious book thieves being booked for nabbing books, but in the meantime I will take vicarious pleasure is seeing another city’s lowlifes taking the fall.
*** Dateline, Nairobi, Kenya. Jerome Corsi, author of Obama Nation, who was detained at the airport before a news conference where his book was to be introduced, was expelled from that country by armed soldiers with parting cries of ‘See you in hell.’ As we have learned repeatedly, the written word is not always found to be sacrosanct in much of the world, or even most of it.
*** It is doubtful that anyone other than Neil Gaiman could have dreamed up Graveyard, much less written it. Gaiman fans know that his mind just works on a different level than other people, and that this is probably a good thing. His newest is about a boy raised in a graveyard by dead people, sort of a Jungle Book with tombstones. The interview below is lots of….fun?
*** Today’s obituaries include Charles Wright, the novelist who made black street life in New York come alive in the 60’s and 70’s with three heralded novels, The Messenger, The Wig and Absolutely Nothing to Get Alarmed About, died on October 1 in Manhattan. He was 76.