Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shakespeare on a Manhattan Street

What You Stumble Across

I'm not sure if it's just my lot in life, but for whatever reason, I very often find myself tripping over books. Literally. A couple years ago, when I was in Chicago, I was walking down the street and found a box full of Beowulf tomes--translations, commentaries, critical editions, and tour books to Denmark that high-lighted the historical relation to the old epic. I thought this was unique (or at least somewhat particular) to my neighborhood of Hyde Park, near the University of Chicago. Of course, this was my own obvious naivete. This past November, I'd been strolling around Morningside Heights, the community around Columbia University, one evening, when I happened upon a pile of books on the curbside. Okay, I didn't "trip" over them. But I was pretty close! The trove of books was mostly Shakespearean classics in one-play editions. As you can see from the photo here, I selected "The Two Noble Kinsmen" and "Much Ado About Nothing." There were others, but I took these. And they were in pristine condition. As if they'd never been used or read! (Yes, people DO still read Shakespeare! Of course, seeing and hearing it is usually much more engaging). Well, I was glad to find that I'd landed in yet another place where books could be found (or had) in such abundance. When I get around to it, I'll share some images of the innumerable and ever-present book sellers on the streets of New York. To my surprise, they
actually sell books in the winter too. Like the week before Christmas, when I went to Zabars to fetch some goodies, a whole row of bundled up book sellers looking like winter-clad Moscovites, were plying their trade. It was a sight then to see that they'd taken equal care of their books: they too were "dressed" for winter--each bound in a protective winter-coating of durable, snow-proof plastic!

Keep on reading!

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