Friends know that I have a secret habit of selling old books on the Internet, so I sometimes get shopping bags of books on my doorstep, left like orphans outside the fire station. Last week, my friend, Mary, dropped off some lovely forest green encyclopedias and three volumes of Century magazine indices from the 1880s. She found them by the road left for the recycling truck.
The green embossed books caught my eye first; I bet I can sell them pretty quickly. The Century indices are a boring brown, so I worried that they wouldn’t sell. But then I looked inside. Poems by Walt Whitman and Emma Lazarus. An article that looked at the statistical likelihood of getting hit by a bullet in a civil war battle. And articles by Teddy Roosevelt about life on the frontier with illustrations by Frederick Remington.
I might not sell these books.