This is Saturday. It’s about noon and I am walking again to the corner coffee shop. And here in the dreary disarray of Dog Alley I discover a colorful flowerbed of seven books. They are neatly layed out beside a trash barrel in the baking sun. Six paperback novels and a hardback, “Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf.”
The novels, all written by bestselling authors, are lined up in two rows with the Penick slightly canted on the right. On the top row, from left are John Grisham’s “The King of Torts,” “The Innocent Man” and “The Broker” with Robin Cook’s “Chromosome 6” on the far right.
The second row starts with James Patterson’s “The Big Bad Wolf,” then Cook’s “Vital Signs.”
I wonder who has placed the books out here in such an intelligent order. Is it someone from one of the residences on the south? Or perhaps someone on the north in the offices of a big PR firm? Or was it a book-loving homeless person who was searching the trash? It could be almost anyone. Or any number of people. Maybe one person set out the books and another came by and put them in a design.
Man or woman, I have only a slender clue. The woman’s purse with the ugly chartreuse trim resting nearby, I know, may tell me nothing at all. I lean to the theory the books belonged to a man only because I think mysteries and golf are more of a man’s province. Even then, it could have been a woman who took her husband’s discards and placed them in the alley.
And why the design, this book-garden of blues, blacks and reds? Surely not for the colors themselves. What else though than to show book smarts, an act of an anonymous ego? In any case, this garden of books is the most interesting thing I’ve seen in Dog Alley for a long time.