Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2017 Issue

74-Year-Old Man Arrested for Destroying Kim Kardashian Books

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"Selfish," by Kim Kardashian.

Carl Puia is not a hero. Many have made him out to be. The 74-year-old Glastonbury, Connecticut, native is clearly frustrated by the direction of society. His frustrations are understandable. I share them. Still, destroying books is not the answer. The problem is in us, not the books. I have no idea what the answer is, but this isn't it.

 

Carl Puia walked into a Barnes & Noble in his hometown last October and spilled some red liquid, perhaps ink, on six copies of Kim Kardashian's book, Selfish. In a tongue-in-cheek description of the crime, the Glastonbury police reported, "Six copies of the book were destroyed in the massacre and could not be revived." Somehow, he managed to escape and was not arrested until five months later, when he voluntarily turned himself in. Police were looking for him, though one imagines they couldn't have been looking all that hard. The crime was caught on the store's surveillance cameras and Mr. Puia made no attempt to disguise himself.

 

Mr. Puia left a long typed note at the scene of the crime. According to Glastonbury police, he expressed his dislike for Ms. Kardashian and people like her. He was booked and released on a $2,500 bond.

 

The website TMZ reported it had contacted Mr. Puia and gathered a few more details concerning his motivation. He reportedly told them that a child picked up a copy of Ms. Kardashian's book, which the mother had to take away and put back. Mr. Puia felt that Barnes & Noble, quite literally, was not keeping up with the Kardashians. The book was too close to eye level for children. It needed to be up higher. He said he went to a store employee and requested the books be put on a higher shelf. A few days later, he returned to Barnes & Noble and found the books still on the lower shelf. That is when he left the store to pick up the red liquid, returned, and spilled it on the six copies. Mr. Puia told TMZ that he didn't believe children should be exposed to such pornographic content.

 

Ms. Kardashian's book is at best soft porn by today's standards. It is a book of "selfies," and she is not always modestly dressed in the pictures. However, this book is more in keeping with Ms. Kardashian's celebrity image, that of an egotistical person with no particular talents, someone who is a celebrity for being a celebrity, kind of a circular explanation. The book is filled with amateur pictures she has taken of herself, be it around the house, the pool, with friends, or whatever other, not very exciting things, she does. The book would be of no interest if she wasn't a celebrity for no particular reason.

 

In defense of Ms. Kardashian, whom many consider to be vacuous, she (and her family) are great self-promoters. That is the one thing she does, and she does it very well. Self-promotion can take you a long way these days. Might even make you President someday. These days, even figures such as film stars or talented athletes have discovered self-promotion is important to achieving the greatest fame, and the rewards that come with it. That someone without such skills can self-promote herself to such great celebrity success anyway is utterly remarkable. It is not so much Ms. Kardashian who is vacuous, as are we, caring only for fame, with little concern as to whether it was earned for some worthy reason. The public adoration for people like Ms. Kardashian, over great scientists, writers, and other accomplished leaders, will not change because we destroy Ms. Kardashian's books. It is not her or her books that are at fault. We are.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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