Illegal activity can sometimes be an excellent barometer of a society's soul.
You might, therefore, either leap dangerously close to your chandelier or bang your forehead against your winkle pickers in despair when I reveal to you the list of most pirated e-books of 2009.
I am grateful to the hardened aesthetes at Freakbits who have obtained this list from someone they met on a street corner. Wait, no. This list actually comes from BitTorrent's tally of nefarious downloads.
You will, no doubt, be expecting that the pirates of the Nook and Kindle would have reached for novels of airport quality. You know, James Patterson, Dan Brown, and the dripping anguish of Nicholas Sparks.
You will, no doubt, not have your finger on any kind of bookish Bluebeard's pulse.
For the No. 1 illegal download in 2009 was the "Kama Sutra." The Indian manual for so many things sexual managed to beat out another manual of fundamental interest to a pirate's survival on the tossing tempests of this world: "Adobe Photoshop Secrets."
My own feeling, from deep beneath my T-shirt, is that the "Kama Sutra" and "Adobe Photoshop Secrets" have largely been downloaded by the same people for entirely related purposes. However, I cannot prove it, so let us move seamlessly beyond the steamy and attempt to find calmer waters.
Oh, dear. At No. 3, we have "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amazing Sex." Followed, with geometric nerdy symmetry, by "The Lost Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci." Then, perhaps suggesting an interest in a post baby-making period, we have "Solar House--A Guide for the Solar Designer."
But no sooner were the pirates leaning toward domesticity when up at No. 6 popped "Before Pornography--Erotic Writing In Early Modern England."
The complete series of "Twilight" provided respite at No. 7, before, one imagines, the searing sexual frustration of the yet to shave slammed in again at No. 8 with "How To Get Anyone To Say YES--The Science Of Influence."
At No. 9, please welcome "Nude Photography--The Art And The Craft." And rounding out the extremely rounded and optimistic persona of the illegal e-book downloader we have, at No. 10, "Fix It--How To Do All Those Little Repair Jobs Around The Home."
It is sometimes those who break the law in their youth (and I feel confident so many illegal downloaders have fresh dirt behind their ears) who do, indeed, rise up and become leaders of companies, even of nations.
So I am giddy in the knowledge that that the world may soon be run by people whose primary obsessions are sex and building things.