Word On The Street

Today I drove my son Nick up to Becket, MA, in the heart of the Berkshires, where he will be spending the summer as a counselor at Camp Becket, a healthy and wholesome place if ever there was one. This morning my car was parked several blocks from my home, and as I was walking over to get it at about 7:45 a.m. I noticed several cardboard boxes on the sidewalk, overflowing with books. Though I was already running late, I was drawn as irresistably as a twister to a trailer park, and spent a few minutes rummaging around. As it turned out this was not the usual curbside assortment of fad diets, lurid bodice-rippers, and outdated sports almanacs, but appeared to be the abruptly and ignominiously discarded library of someone of considerable intellectual depth. There were dozens — perhaps more than a hundred — books on philosophy, science, mathematics, and computer science, and I gathered up a handful and headed on, frustrated that I didn’t have more time, and making a note to myself to stop back by when I was back from the drive to Becket.

Well, I completely forgot, of course, and have just remembered now, at 11 p.m. Sadly, though, there were some torrential rainstorms this afternoon, and whatever was left out there is surely ruined by now.

Here’s what I grabbed this morning:

  • Ordinary Language, edited by V.C. Chappell
  • What Is The World Made Of? by Gerald Feinberg
  • The Concept Of Nature, by Alfred North Whitehead
  • Philosophy Of Mind, edited by Stuart Hampshire
  • The Philosophy Of Science: An Introduction, by Stephen Toulmin
  • Truth, by George Pitcher
  • The Logical Structure Of The World, by Rudolf Carnap
  • Literate Programming, by Donald E. Knuth

There were so many more. I do hope that other passersby helped themselves as well; it grieves me to think of all of those fascinating books falling apart in the rain.

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2 Comments

  1. bob koepp says

    Nuggets of gold gathered from the streets of Gotham — What luck!

    Posted June 17, 2007 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Yes, but I left so much behind! I already have so many books in the house that I’m running out of places to put them, but this was a real gold mine, as you say. All rotting in the rain…

    Posted June 17, 2007 at 12:29 pm | Permalink