Monday, October 24, 2011

Dear Laundry Room Book Angel

I don’t know who you are, or if you’re one person or several.  But for the past few years, I’ve benefitted from your castaway books.  Of course, that’s what I assume they are as I take my pick of the delicacies and scurry back to my nest. 

My friends tease me that I’m stealing books.  “I found a great book in my laundry room this week…” 

“You mean you STOLE a great book!”

I’m careful not to be greedy, but always happy when I seemingly get first pick of the stash.  I look them over carefully and choose one.  Upstairs, as I wait for the washer to do its work, I think of one or two others I probably should have grabbed and beat myself up.  Half an hour later, I scamper back down to put my laundry in the dryer, hoping against hope that the other book is still there.  Oh god, please don’t let anyone else in the building be doing laundry and also interested in reading about Blind Tom, the 19th Century slave musical genius ……

Over the past four years, I’ve found so many wonderful treasures in The Basement Bookmobile.  One of the first was Ha Jin’s Waiting.  A novel I’d heard about, always thought of reading, and then one day….there it was.  And it was brilliant!  I still recommend it to friends.

Though I work full-time, I go thru several books a week.  Even when the A Train’s running express, that still leaves me at least 25 minutes to read on the trip to Midtown.  I do buy new books when I can afford them, love the convenience of and admit that The Strand is my favorite place in NYC. 

But nothing beats The Laundry Room.  It’s a wonderland of surprises!

A few of my favorites over the years:

The Portable Dorothy Parker
Heirloom:  Notes From An Accidental Tomato Farmer
Joseph Campbell’s Myths to Live By
Rape of the Nile:  Tomb Robbers, Tourists, and Archaeologists in Egypt
The Egyptian Book of the Dead
The Kite Runner
The Illustrated History of New York
The first three volumes of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Strangers on the Train by Patricia Highsmith
Irish Fairy Tales
The Popular Book:  A History of America’s Literary Tastes
Jorge Luis Borges’ Labyrinths
The petit book on Poirot’s Fashion
Essay’s from the Writer’s Workshop
A lovely edition of Rabelais

My gay (and a few straight) friends were particularly jealous when I had Alison Arngrim’s Confessions of a Prairie Bitch in my bag!

And a few months ago, when I was going thru a break-up, suddenly a copy of It’s Called a Break-Up Because It’s Broken appeared as I laundered pajamas stained with ice cream and pizza sauce.  Can’t say it was brilliant writing.  But was a great little friend to have handy during those dark days.

Last week I became the proud owner of The Vanishing Race on the history of the North American Indian.

And then this week you gifted me with The New York Public Library Desk Reference AND The Moosewood Cookbook! 

As a voracious reader, book-lover, and awesome cook!----THANK YOU!!!

For four years, I’ve always loved the mystery of the Laundry Room Book Angel.  And frankly, I still do.  But have been so overjoyed with the books lately that I really felt the need to finally say “thank you”.  Whoever you are. 

You make laundry day a pleasure.  And wonderful reading the rest of the week.

Whether you are one person or several----I am.... 

Gratefully yours,

Bennett Avenue Book Reader  

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