A Good Home, Book lovers, Books, Canadian life, childhood mischief, Great books, Humour


Like any other criminal, I am entitled to a defence, after all.

So before I confess, let me say this in my defence:

It’s not that I plan to steal books.

Blog Photo - Books - Native Son and Anne of Avonlea

It’s not even that I mean to.

But, somehow, I steal books.

Blog Photo - Books - Morrison and Levy


I have been an obsessive reader since early childhood and it continued throughout my life.

Blog Photo - Books Older

I read everything.

The newspaper.

The dictionary.

One summer when the school library was closed and I had run out of things to read, I even read the Bible.

Someone must have dared me.  And, being very smart, I didn’t realize that some bets shouldn’t be taken.

Blog Photo - Books - The Bible

You have no idea what it cost me.  Two years before, I’d decided that I was an atheist.

The kind that half-believes in God at night, in the middle of a furious storm.

But an atheist nonetheless.


I had hardly begun, when I got to the begats.  They  nearly did me in. Jacob and his wives begat dozens of children who begat dozens more children and when I woke up the next morning, they were still begetting.

Reading the begats was cruel and unusual punishment and I had no-one to blame but myself.

Blog Photo - Books - Bargain with God etc

I imagined that God was having a great laugh.

If I believed in her, that is.

But I digress.


Blog Photo - Books for Kids and Teens

I first stole a book when I was about ten years old.  It was probably a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mystery.

I gave it back when I finished reading and I never stole another book till I found myself at a silent convent some years ago.

“You stole from the nuns?” I hear you asking.

Blog Photo - Books - Edna Manley

Yes.  I stole two books from the nuns, but I did not chop down their cherry tree.

I returned the books a whole year later. And they forgave me, smiling at my extreme penitence.

Blog Photo - Books - Mandela

But I stole a few magazines before then.  From airplanes or airport VIP lounges.

Stole them and brought them home because of a great story I wanted to finish reading.

I must have felt really bad about it, because I kept stealing them.

Three in all.

Till one day my eyes caught a small sign on the cover of one magazine, making it clear that the magazines were free to customers.  All three magazines had the same sign.

I know God was having a great laugh.

I’m told he’s funny that way.

67 thoughts on “I STEAL BOOKS”

  1. Oh Cynthia, I smiled all the way through this! It was such a witty, funny read in your special, signature style. I found myself peering at the titles of the books on your shelves- trying to see what you read. I think we all do that, don’t we, when we visit someone? I think what a person reads gives us an insight into who they are.
    Clive James, who sadly, is very close to death, was interviewed recently in his study and I spotted the word ‘Liebling’ on the spine of one of his books. I am wondering if this would be a book by A.J. Liebling? I have never read any of his books, but was intrigued to see his work was included in his collection.
    And it’s all about these little threads and connections, isn’t it? What we read and what that says about us and how those choices help to define who we are. Look how you were moved by reading about Richard iii.
    My life has been so enriched by some of the characters created by, for example, Thomas Hardy, D.H Lawrence, Jane Austen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and these fictional personalities travel with me, always.
    I do think that all of us at some time have ‘borrowed’ a magazine from a Dr’s surgery, or forgotten to return a library book. Please remind me never to lend you one of mine, especially if I have joined a Nunnery!

    1. So, Karen, you made me giggle at that last line, so now I have to re-read everything you wrote, because I’m too busy laughing right now. You are a funny one.

  2. Cynthia, your confession of “stealing” the nun’s books made me smile all over again. Your honesty in telling your true story in your memoir is one the most endearing elements of it. I hope to be as brave one day. You inspire me. And I think God must laugh a lot. How else could He balance out all the things He witnesses. Laughter and love are the best medicines.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    1. Thank you, Wendy. I guess we inspire each other, Girlfriend! and yes, I think we silly humans give God a lot to laugh about. I privately think we humans are crazy, but that’s another story….

      1. That’s funny. I’m loving the responses this post is getting from you and others.

        I might as well buy. time has little meaning to me, So I show up at the library, triumphant that I finished the book in record time, only to discover I’ve incurred a hefty fine. They finally set me up with automatic reminders by email and I pray I don’t miss an email or forget it. It was costing me a prince’s ransom! I have to laugh at myself.

  3. I loved Nancy Drew when I was a kid, a good first book to steal! I am so guilty of borrowing books and not returning them. Have also borrowed books out, never to be seen again. When friends and I get together we are constantly asking each other “did I borrow this book from you?” or “did I give you that book to read?” We can never remember! Thanks for the laugh

    1. wasn’t ole Nancy a great one, though?And thank you for your vivid reply which had me smiling all the way. I think I am guilty of all the book borrowing and lending things you’re guilty of!

      1. I think I had most of the Nancy Drew books, can still remember them lined up in my book shelf. BTW – I’m about 3/4 through your book and really love it. I also grew up in a pink house but don’t have the same fond memories as you, unfortunately (but that’s a story I’m writing about). 🙂

  4. I enjoyed this so much! I believe I might have read a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book or two when I was a kid. I remember there was another author that wrote mysteries named Phyllis A. Whitney. I used to read her books in either middle school or junior high school.

  5. Lovely post! I was reading all your titles like Karen did. I have so many books and I am reluctant to get rid of any of them as they all have memories attached to them as well as being good reads. We have no more room for new books and I am always acquiring new ones! They are heaped up in places around the house. Our local library is not too good (lack of funds I think) and I hardly ever find anything I want to borrow so I buy. I haven’t had much time for reading lately and I can’t seem to concentrate when I do get the chance so the heaps of books are not diminishing. Hope you’re feeling a little better?

    1. Yes, thank you for asking, Clare. Most of the flu stuff is gone and I have been walking around outside in the squelchy garden.
      You will have time to read your books one of these days/years. Right now, you are busier than a one-armed paper-hanger! (Is that an old English saying?)
      And knowing that you have no time to read books, I am doubly honoured that you read mine. Thank you, Clare.

      1. You are very welcome, Cynthia! I couldn’t put it down – it was definitely a very good read! So pleased you are on the mend and able to get out into your garden. 🙂

  6. oh how funny Cynthia, I think most people that read have borrowed books for longer than expected! I know I have a couple books that I never returned only because of our local library closed and we no longer have a library! I was going to find them and send you a picture but I guess they are boxed up somewhere, I couldn’t find them! I enjoyed your post very much!! 🙂

    1. Okay, Kiddo – I got yer figgered out. You borrowed those books knowing the local library was going to close two weeks later, right?
      Tell me, please, that this was the case. It makes for a really good story!
      Thanks for your great reply, Michael. I am so enjoying hearing about people’s forgetfulness where borrowing books is concerned, but you win the jackpot for accidentally great timing. Yes, do please send me the photo if you ever find the books.

  7. haha… oh yea, I did know they were going to close from a sign on the door as well as when I checked them out they told me. But I quickly forgot and when I did think of it, they had closed. The books sat on the end table in out sunroom for at least 6 months. Both were world history!

    1. Okay, young man. that is definitely funny and clever of you at the same time. But here’s my question, since they were on Such A Heavy Topic: Did ya read them?

  8. My daughter was very good at incurring library fines for late returns. But she said it was lovely to be able to contribute to the library coffers because they provided such a wonderful service. I wouldn’t mind if you ‘stole’ one of my books because I know it would be loved and in safe hands. 😀 Glad to see Lucy Maud Montgomery on your bookshelf. Say hello to my LMMs again…..https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/5122/#jp-carousel-5130 .. One of the Anne books was given to my mother in 1935. As for those begats……hmmmm…..I have may have skipped a few pages of them. 😀

    1. This is such a great reply, Gallivanta. Thank you!
      You skipped only a few pages of the begats? (smile) Good girl!
      Your daughter is so clever. Took me years to stop feeling bad about those fines. I would have been better off buying some of those books. But as you know, those librarians were so helpful that I shall now adopt your daughter’s posture on the matter of those fines.
      Your mother got an Anne book in 1935. Do you have it now?

  9. A lovely post. I don’ t think I’ ve ever stolen a book but like you I have been an avid reader since a child and I could never get my hands on enough to read . Reading the OT as a child must have been scary.Those blood thirsty stories make your blood curdle. The OT God sounds like a vindictive psychopath to me. Much nicer reading are the lovely Anne of Green Gables books. Anne made such an impression on me as a child, Anne of Green Gables was my absolute favourite book of all time. Now I’ m an adult, I still don’ t steal books but I nearly always buy them second hand.

    1. What a lovely reply this is, Chloris. Thank you.
      Sounds like you, also, saw books as
      a gateway to adventure and daydreams during childhood. Wasn’t reading just divine?
      Anne of Green Gables – oh, yes! I’m so glad to hear you loved those books. (You may have seen one of the books on my bookshelf.) I had read hair as a child and Anne made it perfectly fine to have read hair when everyone else didn’t!
      As for the OT: bloodcurdling in parts, beautiful in parts, and completely boring in others! I was an adolescent by then, but it still took me decades to want to read the Bible again — and I still struggle with some of it today, choosing to see the OT as mainly a backdrop to the NT.

  10. I am a huge fan of books… I have been an avid reader, not that much nowadays, but I read everything for a decade… Now that I am in my thirties I don’t read that much… BUT I have lots of books…
    And literally speaking, i must confess I stole books from Bookstores… A few times… I guess it was a sort of act of redemption, somehow, and the major purpose was not bad, so that’s a relief, at least for myself!.
    All the best to you, dear Cynthia. ⭐
    This post is really outrageous!. I love it.
    Aquileana 😀

  11. Ditto to all your wonderful posts here…I totally relate!!!
    One of my favorite poet and author, Daisaku Ikeda in all his great wisdom wrote “Reading is dialogue with oneself; it is self-reflection, which cultivates profound humanity. Reading is therefore essential to our development. It expands and enriches the personality like a seed that germinates after a long time and sends forth many blossom-laden branches…..”

  12. As a bookaholic I understand completely, you have to get your fix wherever you can.
    The ‘begats’ almost did me in as well.
    Very funny, Cynthia, thank you for the smiles. 🙂

  13. Such fun to read! Partly because it’s so well written and partly because I can relate on every level. Even though I had serious religious doubts at a pretty early age, to develop as I got older, I can remember poring over the Bible and even the Methodist hymnal, trying to understand the imagery and figure out the melody! And then there was the fascinating prose on the cereal box . . .

    1. Well said! Happy Easter to you when it comes. I have always dreaded Good Friday services, and only going to church on Easter Sunday is probably the coward’s way out, but I love Easter Sunday.

  14. Due to a recent bout of pneumonia I won’t be singing in our church choir at Easter but the greater joy will be to hear and love the English Handbell Choir at our church. Our older son, now 34, has been playing in it since he was eight years old! Now he is one of the co-conductors and plays those base bells as if they were featherweights! Happy Easter to you! Lee

  15. Ahh – a true book thief you are not, Ms. Reyes. Perhaps a longterm borrower. 🙂 Like you, I read anything and everything I can get my hands on. If I were stuck for a long time in a waiting room with no choice but a physics book, (yuck!), I’d probably start reading that, too, and suspect you might as well. Would we fight over it? Maybe not!
    May I recommend one of my now Top 10 books ever. “The Book Thief.” I think you would equally love it and be amazed. “Sometimes when life robs you, you have to rob it back.” ~ Liesel Meminger

    1. I saw the movie recently and loved it, Jeanne. thank you and I will check out the book. the movie was well done, but I have no idea how faithful it was to the book. Sorry to hear I am not a true book thief. I’ll try harder next time!

  16. Your post made me smile because as a child I was never without something in hand to read, even at table. I’d eat with one hand and turn pages with the other. Every once in a while my mother would lose patience and snatch the book or magazine away, so in desperation I’d read everything that was printed on the cereal box instead! Eventually she gave up. 😉

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