Tuesday, August 12, 2008


The laundry room in our building has become quite the depository for unwanted items. A very large bin for used clothes appeared about a year ago with all donations benefiting Breast Cancer research. Very handy it has become. It is almost always full. A bookshelf appeared to hold all the books and bits of china that were being left on the floor. Of course things are still left on the floor because people are such lazy slobs. Once you've schlepped your stuff all the way down to the basement and along the hall, well, is it really too much that you lift the flap of the clothing donation bin? Or take your books out of the box and line them up on the shelf? Apparently it is.

It is even worse at the donation boxes in the parking lots of shopping malls. Even though they clearly state it is for 'CLOTHING ONLY' and may even list all the items that must not be left there, you will see piles of garage sale rejects left on the ground. Common sense would tell you that a bin for a clothing drop off would not be able to use your children's toys, kitchen chairs, old computer parts, or fake flower arrangements. And you, who left that lazy boy rocker, or the old TV still in its original 1960's console, did you really expect it to survive the rain we have seen daily?? Could you not have just gone to a Goodwill, or Sally Ann or Value Village??

Our garage also gets its fair share of castoffs. And you will often see people wandering around the recycling bins to see if anything useful has been left. I have gotten quite a few things - and have left behind quite a few things. Anything in good condition will be gone almost immediately. Sometimes you will see a chair, or table, or plant stand reappear months or years later, soon to be claimed by another tenant. It is like a long term lending library of furniture.

The other day I took a box of books down to the shelves and by the time I came back to pick up my laundry 45 minutes later most of them had disappeared. The pickings of reading material is often interesting. Our building used to be adult only and there are still a fair number of 'older persons' who will move on to a smaller 'home' or whose belongings will be cleared out by their family. You can tell when such a collection has been cleared out. Suddenly dozens of old cookbooks will appear. Novels written of a certain era. Some people are seemingly still into collecting Silhouette or Harlequin Romance. Literally dozens of them will appear at a time. Someone had a real dieting issue with the collection of South Beach, Atkins, Fit4Life, WeightWatchers, No Carbs, Low Fat, Protein books that were dropped off. A half dozen books on horse training and dressage were once seen. Travelling Nova Scotia and the Cabot Trail had three versions all from the 1970's. Some of these will languish for weeks before being trucked off to ... a charity shop somewhere.

But today, I scored these:

The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble
Flying Finish by Dick Francis
The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler
Astrid & Veronika by Linda Olsson
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
The In-Between World of Vikram Lall by MG Vassanji
Whiteshorn Woods by Maeve Binchey
Small Island by Andrea Levy
The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer
Don't Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me by Paula Begum

Except for the last one, I believe I have my reading material for the airport and plane.

The train will provide its own entertainment that I won't want to miss.

Anyone read any of these?


  1. You really did score!

    I have not read The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards, but I have heard it is good. I have read Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (in fact live very near Cold Mountain) and I liked it.

  2. I can't remember anything I read. Sometimes I'm half-way through a book and start to think it seems very familiar; then a few chapters on I realize I've already read it. I have read a lot of Dick Francis, though and Margaret Drabble.

  3. Great catch. I haven't heard of any but Cold Mountain. But i have this idea I think would be a good thing in any comunit. It would be a "Take it Shed" - you bring your unwanted items (no trash) and anyone is free to take what they want or need. I don't even care if they re-sell them, as long as it keeps stuff out of the landfill.

  4. I've read The Memory Keeper's Daughter and it is very good and you can't go wrong with an Anne Tyler.Maeve Binchey is always good and Cold Mountain is supposed to be great. You did very well for yourself.

  5. I've read The Memory Keeper's Daughter. It's not bad. I think you'll enjoy it.
    (He deserved to be soundly slapped, though!)

  6. Great haul! The Red Queen is very good, as is The Amateur Marriage...

  7. XUP: I have done that so many times, and often it is only that one passage or scene that I remember, so I keep on reading what I've obviously forgotten.

  8. Citizen: The 'Take-it-Shed' is a great idea. Now if only it would be kept orderly...

  9. Everyone: Since I'm only taking carry on luggage - I know, I'm amazing, if I can pull it off - it may come down to what fits. And that is definitely not Maeve Binchy. So, Dick Francis is the smallest. And Cold Mountain got the most mentions, and Whim lives near there so...

  10. violetsky, you can do carry on luggage no problem. I do it all the time for Europe. And remember, a handbag (or backpack) is NOT considered carry on so you can put a lot of stuff in that :)

    Don't know much about the list of books you mentioned but all I can say is take one that appeals to you and then if you can leave it behind, so much the better. That's what I do with some of my books now.

    We used to have a bin like that too but since our episode with bed bugs, I asked the property manager to remove it. Anyone wanting to leave clothing or stuff is asked to take it somewhere else. I don't want to take any chances. And of course, because people are lazy and can't read, they still leave stuff. But now there is a notice saying it's going to be chucked. Once we get the all clear, in about a year or so, we'll put the bins back.

  11. UA: yep, I don't think it'll be a problem - I usually end up wearing my favourites all the time anyway.

    Hope it isn't those buggy neighbours across from you who are leaving behind the contaminated stuff.

  12. The Maeve Binchy is not her best, so , yup, leave that behind. But I still love her!


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