Field notes from Albany (part 2)

One of my neighbors constructed one of those Little Free Libraries. You have probably seen them – perched at the fronts of lawn, they resemble birdhouses, but with a glass door and room for books inside. The idea is that you take a book while leaving a book and no money exchanges hands. But I admit I don’t completely understand it. There is a big free library just a few blocks away, which has a much larger selection, plus it’s air conditioned.

When I saw it I went to the local thrift store and bought all their copies of The DaVinci Code and put them all in there. I figured it would happen eventually so I might as well hasten the process. Actually I’m just kidding, that would have been mean. I made sure to include a cross-section of the work of Dan Brown.

Strangely enough, later that summer the Little Free Library got designated as a Pokémon Gym. That’s a place where Pokémon Go players go to battle one other. For a few weeks, there were all these kids flitting around, eyes on screens, thumbs twitching, never exchanging any books. Like moths to a flame, or more precisely like Venomoths to a Flareon.

Speaking of unwanted books, a different neighbor had a yard sale the other day and was selling her college textbooks from the 1980s for $1 each. One of them was Principles of Economics. I knew she hadn’t done the reading for that class because right on page 6 it says “don’t wait until something has lost 98% of its value before selling it”. I imagine the thought process when her family moved there back around 2000: “I’m still hoping to do the reading, but I’ll give myself a 15-year deadline”. I ended up buying Principles of Economics for 50 cents (page 268: don’t ever pay full price) and used it swat away children as I added it to the Little Free Library.

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