The Book Thief / El ladrón de libros

last year

When I was a child about eight years old, there was a railroad sorting yard nearby where freight cars were held on sidings pending delivery. One of the siding tracks held large container cars loaded with giant bales of compressed paper on their way to a pulp mill nearby where the paper would be reprocessed into newsprint. I had been curious about the freight and would sneak into the cars through the open side doors.

I shortly discovered that some bales were filled with books on their way to be shredded and made into paper soup! The temptation was too great and I found four that first time and took them home to start my first book collection! Within days, I repeated that...and repeated it again for at least a dozen times.

Until I was caught by one of the railroad workers.

He demanded to know why I was stealing from the railroad and I told him I did not want the books to be destroyed and – terrified at being apprehended - I began crying. I was certain that I was going to jail forever or maybe even would be shredded with the books!

The man asked to see what the books were and looked at each one carefully. He handed one back to me and said, “This is The Good Earth. I read it about the time you were born. Promise you’ll read it carefully when you get home and you can have it.”

I promised multiple times and he handed me the book. He then handed me the rest and said, “You be careful on these cars and don’t come here when you hear the engine working, ‘ya hear?”

Beginning that night, I read The Good Earth. Carefully.

It was the best book I had ever read!

I was very careful on future trips, and only rescued quality books selected by how they looked and how the paper felt. Books with end papers like those in The Good Earth were always exciting "finds".

Yes, it was stealing, but it didn’t seem like it at the time.

After all, I was saving BOOKS from certain destruction!

Five years later, I was browsing the new paperback books in Eli's Candy Kitchen and Bookstore and, for 25 cents, bought a copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. I read it in two days during the summer, and realized that some people go to great extremes to preserve books.

Mine had not been theft at all. It was just the relocation of a valuable artifact.

Goodearth.JPG


Cuando yo era un niño de unos ocho años, había un patio de clasificación de ferrocarriles cerca donde los vagones de carga estaban retenidos en las vías de servicio hasta que se recibiera el pedido. Una de las vías de apartadero contenía grandes vagones de contenedores cargados con fardos gigantes de papel comprimido que se dirigían a una fábrica de pulpa cercana donde el papel se transformaba en papel prensa. Tenía curiosidad por el flete y me colaba en los coches a través de las puertas laterales abiertas.

Pronto descubrí que algunos fardos estaban llenos de libros en camino a ser triturados y convertidos en sopa de papel! La tentación era demasiado grande y encontré a cuatro esa primera vez y los llevé a casa para empezar mi primera colección de libros! A los pocos días, lo repetí... y lo repetí de nuevo al menos una docena de veces.

Hasta que fui atrapado por uno de los trabajadores del ferrocarril.

Me pidió que le explicara por qué estaba robando del ferrocarril y le dije que no quería que los libros fueran destruidos y, aterrorizado por la detención, me puse a llorar. Estaba seguro de que iba a ir a la cárcel para siempre o que incluso me harían pedazos con los libros.

El hombre pidió ver cuáles eran los libros y miró a cada uno de ellos cuidadosamente. Me devolvió uno y me dijo: "Esta es la Buena Tierra. Lo leí sobre la época en que naciste. Prométeme que lo leerás atentamente cuando llegues a casa y te lo daré".

Se lo prometí varias veces y me dio el libro. Entonces me dio el resto y me dijo: "Ten cuidado con estos coches y no vengas aquí cuando oigas que el motor funciona, ¿me oyes?"

A partir de esa noche, leí La Buena Tierra. Con cuidado.

Era el mejor libro que había leído!

Fui muy cuidadoso en mis futuros viajes, y sólo rescaté libros de calidad seleccionados por su aspecto y por cómo se sentía el papel. Los libros con documentos finales como los de La buena tierra siempre fueron "hallazgos" emocionantes.

Sí, estaba robando, pero no lo parecía en ese momento.

Después de todo, ¡estaba salvando libros de una destrucción segura!

Cinco años más tarde, estaba hojeando los nuevos libros en rústica en Eli's Candy Kitchen and Bookstore y, por 25 centavos, compré una copia de Fahrenheit 451 de Ray Bradbury. Lo leí en dos días durante el verano, y me di cuenta de que algunas personas llegan a grandes extremos para preservar los libros.

El mío no había sido un robo en absoluto. Fue sólo la reubicación de un artefacto valioso.

~ finis ~


This is a Weku original

The image is mine.


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It pains me to see books being spoiled even if it's a crease or the smallest fold even.
I love that copy of "The Good Earth" that you are holding. Is that the same one from the train?

I remember reading it during my eight grade and recall it to being a delicious read, though now can't quite recall the story. Got to get a copy to read again!

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Yes, that is the original stolen book, snatched from the jaws of death! I have protected it for six decades and keep it wrapped in shrink-wrap plastic with a desiccant bag to protect it against moisture and mold. It has held up far better than I have over the years!

I am the same about my treatment of books. I never make a mark in them or dog-ear a page. I also try not to "break" the binding by opening them too far. I still search sales for old books and look forward to the big book sale our county library has each year to sell the donated books they get by the thousands. Many come from estates and some are frightfully expensive to print and the library sells everything by the inch! You stack them up and they measure with a ruler and you own the treasures for $1.00 an inch!

Every time I see the binding on the shelf, I remember the family cow after all the decades since my first reading.

Que alegría verte por aquí nuevamente querido Willy!

Qué anécdota tan linda! En tu afán por salvar a los libros y de armar una buena biblioteca pasaste algún mal momento, acrecentado por toda la fantasía que un niño puede llegar a tener.

Que lindo recuerdo que nos has compartido. Intentaré conseguir una copia en español.

Gran abrazo amigo!

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¡Gracias, Pablo! El libro trata sobre una gran hambruna y agitación en China en la década de 1930 y es una historia maravillosa que vale la pena leer. Es el tipo de historia con la que cualquiera puede simpatizar y hay lecciones morales que aprender al sufrir junto con la familia.

Espero que te vaya bien, amigo mío.

I did 'The Good Earth' for literature in my secondary school. It was so long ago, I don't remember much of it. :-)

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That is a clear sign that you should re-read it! The story will be far better to see it from an adult perspective because you can better appreciate the struggle endured.

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That is true. And I do have the habit of re-reading books. And like you said, I do appreciate them more during the second read.

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That is why I like having them in my bookcase. I can scan the shelves and simply looking at the title on the binding helps recall the memory of the content.

Well done willy !
A book is a world and you have saved it.
Good to see you again.

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Thanks! They are indeed little worlds that contain episodes of the past and the future and we can visit those worlds at our leisure.

Leo tu historia y es inevitable proyectar la película de tu relato en mi mente!

Felicitaciones @willimac.

Contenido revisado por @comunidadhispana.

Cuando publiques en idioma español puro o bilingüe, no dudes en utilizar la etiqueta #spanish.

Saludos

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Los libros son mundos diferentes. El gran placer de tener libros en mi estantería es que cuando veo la encuadernación y el nombre del libro, recuerdo haber visitado cada uno de los mundos y el tiempo y lugar que ocupé mientras viajaba en el tiempo.

Gracias por la sugerencia de la etiqueta #spanish. Lo usaré en el futuro.

What a beautiful story, thanks for letting us know

Upvoted by @gratefulvibes community account.
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Thank you, and it was my pleasure to pass the story on.