Free Books, Hyde Park

Walking home from work, I happened to see two large boxes of books. I wasn’t really looking for anything to read (it’s been a while since I cracked open a book, especially since most of them are tucked away in a box somewhere).

But seeing these made me curious. It’s hard to pass by without taking a peek, and I started looking through some of the titles. The thought occurred to me that “free books” like this will likely give you a sense of the neighborhood. I’ve long been a believer that if you know someone’s bookshelf, you’ll know a decent amount about that person.

As I was browsing around, a woman said behind me “I’ve got another box.” I turned, and saw she had set out yet more books to go through. I learned a lot of them were Philosophy books (she and her husband were both professors, I think). I learned that they’re moving, and that these books are a small sample of what they had inside the house.

We talked a bit about our love of books, and for my part – despite being more of technology guy? I still prefer the feel of a physical book in my hands. We talked about the books we liked, and the difference between the ones we give away and the ones we keep (and the ones we read at least once a year).

On parting, I asked if she could recommend a book that she would regularly read, at least once a year. She suggested The Once and Future King. And also The Lord of the Rings. When I admitted that I had never actually read LOTR, she was taken aback – and insisted that that be on the top of my list.

After she went back inside and I continued to look through her books… I found one that caught my fancy. It was an O’Reilly book, but not the kind that I’m used to.

The title was Ambient Findability, and the caption at the top reads “What we find changes who we become.”

Interesting find. Looking forward to reading it.

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