The Corner

Steal This Book

A reader:

“Dear Mr. Derbyshire—Your February Diary entry on p.,u. and e.l. seems to suggest that you pilfered a copy of Grenz’s A Primer on Postmodernism from your local library, as you say you found it there and now it sits on your shelf. Please reassure us that you have not purloined government property for your private use. That would be sort of like a reverse Kelo v. New London, and we can’t have that, can we?”

To steal a book on postmodernism would be a very postmodern act… somehow. I mean, I wouldn’t really be stealing a book, you know, only “stealing” a “book.”

However, to reassure readers, let me make clear that

(1) The book does indeed sit on my shelf as I write;

(2) It is a library book, not yet overdue;

(3) I fully intend to buy a copy from Abebooks.

The late Abbie Hoffman actually wrote a book with the title Steal This Book. I am not him, and in fact never approved of him (though we had a mutual acquaintance who swore Abbie was a very nice fellow in person). I don’t steal books; and anyone who steals one of MY books will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. OK?

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