I picked up three books this evening from the Pollard Memorial Library in Lowell:
New and Selected Poems, 1923-1985 by Robert Penn Warren. A million years ago — or maybe just ten, I don’t remember — I was in high school. I remember flipping through the enormous book of a million different stories and poems — or maybe just a hundred, I don’t remember — that was our English literature book. One poem that caught my eye, although we never covered it in class, was a poem that I simply remembered because it had the line, “Canteen now dry and of what worth.” That was the only line I remembered, though I remembered it in the context of, “OK, we’ve made it here, now who are we and why?” Today I looked up the line — thanks, Google Books — and tracked down the book at the library.
A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel. Of course this deserves a terrible pun: I found this book during a random walk down the aisle at the library. It wasn’t completely random that I chose it: I recognized it as a respected book on investing. Also, it stood out on the shelves in the section on finance because it didn’t proclaim to make me a millionaire or beat the Dow or do any other number of things that I would expect to hear from someone that was just trying to sell me a book (looking at you and your books, Jim Cramer).
Dialogues of Plato, Volume I, translated by B. Jowett (Fourth printing, 1941). Let me explain what I know about philosophy: I don’t know anything about philosophy. In the summer of 2005, at the University of Illinois, I had to cross campus to get from my apartment to work at the ElectriCOIL lab. To get there, often I would duck through the Main Library to catch a little shade. One day, they were selling used books, and I picked up a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig (for a quarter or fifty cents or something ridiculous). In this book, the narrator mentions the dialogues of Plato, as well as several other ideas and books on philosophy. So I saw this book while browsing the shelves, checked to see it was the one with the dialogue with Phaedrus, and got it.
By the way, I’m kittell on LibraryThing.