I see you stopping even though your dog wants to keep walking. I see the way you look inside that little house on a pole in front of our big house on the ground. I know what you’re thinking: These people have the best damn little free library on the block.
That’s right. We’ve got Jane Austen, Jhumpa Lahiri, Don DeLillo, William Shakespeare (the sonnets), and Jean-Paul Sartre (the novel). We’ve got screenwriting, gardening, woodworking, and programming. We’ve got Tom Robbins, Tony Robbins, and even Harold Robbins. We’ve got it all.
You want that Superman graphic novel? Go on, take it. No judgment here. We don’t believe in the distinction between high and low culture anyway. The best damn little free library on the block needs a little bit of everything. We’ve got anthologies. We’ve got chapbooks. We’ve got vintage maps and futuristic cookbooks. We’ve even got a Finnish-English dictionary. That one has been in there a while, actually.
Don’t even bother checking out that little free library across the street. They’ve got the worst selection in the whole neighborhood. There’s a Fodor’s Pocket Sydney from 2002—really useful if you plan to travel back in time and need to find a cyber café. There’s a worn copy of The Road, generally a good offering, but that edition has the movie poster on the cover. Just the black cover with block text for us, thank you very much. The little free library across the street even has a Toyota Rav4 (1996–2012) repair manual. I know because I put it there late last night after discovering it in our own little free library earlier in the day.
We curate our little free library. We can’t just keep everything people toss inside the box. We don’t need your catalogs or user manuals. We don’t need your stacks of magazines either. No, not even the New Yorker. Nobody takes them. Put them somewhere else.
Too much of anything makes for a bad mix, and the mix is everything.
We strive for a solid mix of fiction and nonfiction. Beach reads, history, philosophy, poetry. And, of course, Black authors. Black people used to live in this neighborhood, you know. The best way to honor their history is by making sure we’ve got at least one novel by Toni Morrison in our little free library at all times.
Our little free library rules.
You’ll notice our books are grouped loosely by genre. That didn’t happen by chance. Not even close. See how Iris Murdoch sits right between Raymond Carver and Hannah Arendt? I made that call this morning.
You thinking about that dog-eared copy of The Blind Assassin? Or maybe The Poky Little Puppy for your kid? Take them both. Tuck them under your arm and spread the word. Let everyone know you got them at the best damn little free library on the block.
Two doors down? Their little free library doesn’t even have a window. We’re all for the bespoke little free library. This is a neighborhood that values architectural diversity, after all. Just look at all the varieties of big rectangular houses that now stand where there used to be small cottages. But if you are going to build your own little free library, at least put a window on the thing. Otherwise, it’s just a weird little shed.
A weird little shed with two books by Joel Osteen, a self-published mystery novel, and the F volume of the 1987 Encyclopedia Britannica.
By our count, there are six other little free libraries on this block, and maybe another coming soon, judging from the look of the new neighbors. They’ve already got an IN THIS HOUSE WE BELIEVE sign in the yard, and they haven’t even finished unpacking yet. Another little free library is probably on the way. But no matter what kind of little house they put out in front of their big house—love those security hedges they planted, by the way—there is no chance the book selection will be as good as ours. No chance in hell.
We have the best damn little free library on the block.