I got excited about stolen books. A friend shared a story about the stealing of rare books a la Mission Impossible. My first reaction was of the tingling hopeful nature. I mean, people still value books!

But after reading the article where said friend got the story, I got a little too disappointed. I mean, of course – not to stereotype or anything  but – bibliophiles won’t conduct a heist. The closest introverted bibliophiles would get to a heist is through fiction. It is, after all, a figment of movies or a scene in an action-suspense story.

So, this news story is nothing but a rich collector’s doing. Not getting his – or her – hands dirty. Just waiting until he – or she – can dust off cobwebs on Copernicus’ On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres.

Now, I’m starting to wonder what collectors are. And how much do they weigh? And what’s their purpose of collecting?

Somehow, I managed to not have a vice that stretched on for years. I would get addicted to games for a couple of months, and a few years at most; but never my whole life. Now, I wonder, if people find collecting a vice, an addiction. Is a collection a physical manifestation of someone’s passion for, say, first-edition books? Is it a way to say that you support its creator?

Here’s what a The Guardian article has to say about the collecting:

collecting_the-guardian

And The Telegraph seconds the motion:

collecting_the telegraph.PNG

Does a collection say something about a person? Not through the things collected but through the manner of collecting. Does collecting one thing from childhood to adulthood mean that the person is clinging on to the past? And the collection is a leverage to the constant (I’m still the same diligent shell-collector I was when mom and dad were here), but is nevertheless a sign of progress and maturity (I have more and better shells now than when I was with mom and dad). Does a collection perpetuate perseverance and loyalty? Will you show off a collection to show how a passionate and dedicated lover you are?

I don’t know.

Of course, there are probably answers to these questions in psychology websites or blog sites all over the World Wide Web. But sometimes an interesting guess is more exciting than science-backed facts. As for the book heist in the rare books warehouse in Feltham, Middlesex, I’ll continue to believe that it was theft for the love of books.

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