Why Would Anyone Throw Perfectly Good Books Away?!
I live in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts. This area is inhabited by a large amount of college students who come and go frequently. This results in their being an excess of trash on move out days in the Spring and Fall. However, what until recently I percieved as just trash that I walked by on the sidewalk twice per week, is actually a plethora of usable items, including books.
It is really unfortunate that people would throw away books when there are so many other places they could and would be used and appreciated. And people are not just throwing away books, they also dispose of their furniture, clothes, home decor, nonperishable foods, unused and unopened beauty products and tampons, wall art, and much, much more. I have been going out on these trash days and finding brand new, unused, unopened items and been unable to wrap my head around this wildly outrageous consumerism.
I have decided to share with you the books I have found in the trash, books that people actually discarded, and the garbage truck was hours away from picking up and bringing to a landfill for them to forever be unused, and unread.
The Art of Racing In the Rain
by Garth Stein
Goodreads Rating: 4.2/5
Retail Value (U.S. Paperback): $14.99
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it. – Goodreads
*** The week before I found this book in the trash I had it in my hands, in line at my local bookstore, and almost paid $8 for it. Self control is a beautiful thing. ***
Truth in Advertising
by John Kenney
Goodreads Rating: 3.71/5
Retail Value (U.S. Hardcover): $24.99
Truth in Advertising is debut novelist John Kenney’s wickedly funny, honest, at times sardonic, and ultimately moving story about the absurdity of corporate life, the complications of love, and the meaning of family. – Goodreads
On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes
by Alexandra Horowitz
Goodreads Rating: 3.46/5
Retail Value (U.S. Hardcover): $27.00
On Looking begins with inattention. It is not meant to help you focus on your reading of Tolstoy; it is not about how to multitask. Rather, it is about attending to the joys of the unattended, the perceived “ordinary.” Horowitz encourages us to rediscover the extraordinary things that we are missing in our ordinary activities. Even when engaged in the simplest of activities-taking a walk around the block-we pay so little attention to most of what is right before us that we are sleepwalkers in our own lives. So turn off the phone and portable electronics and get into the real world, where you’ll find there are worlds within worlds within worlds. – Goodreads
Contagious – Why Things Catch On
by Jonah Berger
Goodreads Rating: 3.91/5
Retail Value (U.S. Hardcover): $26.00
Contagious combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheese-steak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the seemingly most boring products there is: a blender. If you’ve wondered why certain stories get shared, e-mails get forwarded, or videos go viral, Contagious explains why, and shows how to leverage these concepts to craft contagious content. This book provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread – for designing messages, advertisements, and information that people will share. Whether you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on. – Goodreads
Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power
by Steve Coll
Goodreads Rating: 3.95/5
Retail Value (U.S. Paperback): $18.00
In Private Empire Steve Coll investigates the largest and most powerful private corporation in the United States, revealing the true extent of its power. ExxonMobil’s annual revenues are larger than the economic activity in the great majority of countries. In many of the countries where it conducts business, ExxonMobil’s sway over politics and security is greater than that of the United States embassy. In Washington, ExxonMobil spends more money lobbying Congress and the White House than almost any other corporation. Yet despite its outsized influence, it is a black box. – Goodreads
The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation – Nineteenth Edition
Goodreads Rating: 3.02/5
Retail Value (U.S. Spiralbound): $70.00
The Bluepages… is a how-to guide providing easy-to-comprehend instruction for the everyday citation needs of first-year law students, summer associates, law clerks, practicing lawyers, and other legal professionals. The examples used throughout the Bluepages employ simple typeface conventions common in the legal profession. The Bluepages supplants the Practitioners’ Notes section of previous editions. – Goodreads
Unfortuantely, I could not save every book and many usable books, and other items, did end up in a landfill. However, I was able to save the ones I have listed above, as well as many others. I would estimate that I saved around 25 books from their demise on trash day by bringing them to my local Little Free Library (‘LFL’). I did two trips in total and there were so many books that I was able to fill the LFL completely.
It has been one week since I filled the LFL and every book that I put in it has now been taken. My hope is that each of these books is being read, loved, and appreciated for its value. I can only hope that these book’s new owners will never throw them away, but will rather pass them along and share the wealth of knowledge they have to offer.
The total retail value of all of the books I found & Kept in the trash is:
* Not including the cost of the estimated 25 books I brought to the LFL *
Here is a list of all of the things you can do with your books other than throw them away:
- Sell them to your local used book store
- Give them to a family member or friend friend
- Donate them to your local school, library, or charity
- Put them in your local Little Free Library