Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Books in a Bag on the Street!

Finding Orphans Once Again...

Some of you reading this blog might wonder: "where is it that you live that people are just dumping books on the side of the street?" Well, Hyde Park, of course! I've never lived in a place where books could be found in such abundance, literally everywhere--and not just for sale. Those who've followed this blog for the past year have seen books in all sorts of places, including "found" and "orphaned" books. Well, the other day I was walking around the neighborhood; it was a lovely day and the annual art fair was going on. My family and I strolled quietly around the neighborhood to check out the fair and find a few yard sales to peruse. And then the inevitable happened: I sighted some books on the side of the road! Yes, like some ancillary attachment to this micro-society of the Hyde Park neighborhood, which we like to call "the University of Chicago."

Admittedly, after I opened the little plastic bag, rain-soaked from the constant showers that have plagued our late spring along with erratically cold weather, I realized that these were more toward the "trashy" side of the reading spectrum, and likely not the reading materials of a University student in the Core (curriculum)--but who knows! Somehow, I would have been horrified if the stumpy mass paperback tomes were philosophy books or history, for example. Yet, I still gawked at the bag, and pulled out my camera to share this passing experience with you all today. I do wonder how many more neighborhoods like this there are out there...I just haven't experienced them yet. Nonetheless, I look forward to finding some more abandoned treats, though fewer bags of deadened books--especially wet and sick books, malingering on the street, feigning book illness to avoid the work of being read! Poor wet books...whoever put them out as free gifts to the passing pedestrian world didn't realize the rains were coming.

As with all things, even books seem to pass in an out of this world. And now a bag of wet books is consigned to the trash. Thinking about this bag on the street and the fate of books, I was compelled to find a copy of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, about a man who starts fires and burns books (among other things). I finally hunted the volume down in a public library last evening, some 30 blocks away. It's interesting how one thing leads to another. So I thank you, little bag of wet books, for leading me back to Ray Bradbury..., even if I'm sorry to see that a few more volumes have been lost to this world.

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