Tag Archives: Pollard Memorial Library

Three books from the Pollard: Warren, Malkiel, Plato

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.

New books today

The last thing that I need is more books. Which is why I went and bought a few more books today.

Of course, this time it wasn't quite as financially demanding as it used to be, when I would almost compulsively raid the Barnes and Noble at Seven Corners in Falls Church, Virginia. This time, the Pollard Memorial Library in Lowell was hosting a used book sale as a fundraiser. The three books that departed with me cost a grand total of $3 (which included a $0.50 raffle ticket for... I'm not sure what it was for).

It was a good excuse to get outside, walk along the canals in the morning sun, test another Lowell coffee shop (Caffe Paradiso, my favorite out of two so far).

Here are the new additions to my library:

  • Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut. If anyone needs to know why I picked up a Kurt Vonnegut book, even if the dustcover was ripped all to hell, immediately leave this site, never come back.
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
  • The More Than Complete Hitchhikers Guide by Douglas Adams. This book has all four books of the trilogy in one volume. As a former member of the space cadet cult, I was still a sort of outsider because I had never read any science fiction. (I read the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson when I was in grad school, but I would classify that one under "geriatric sex," not "science fiction.") I have, however, played a little bit of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy on the Commodore 64. I'll give them a try. I'm no longer accepted by the space cadets, so maybe the books will be more fun without the corresponding baggage.

By the way, I'm kittell on LibraryThing.