Trilobite

“A bibliographical checklist of abandoned books: 2002-2022”

Andy Martrich

Note: I started picking up abandoned books in the summer of 2002, when I nearly ran over one while driving late at night. I was attracted to its potential as a constraint, one that perhaps feels a bit fortuitous. When a book discovers a person, maybe it even disturbs an implicit power dynamic – i.e., a collector over a collection. During the past twenty years, hundreds of books have found me on sidewalks & streets, gutters & trash cans, etc.; this checklist presents a very small selection of books that people apparently didn’t want or had forgotten but now have a home.

Adam Hochschild. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, And Heroism in Colonial Africa. Macmillian 1999.

Middle of Lower Macungie Rd

near the intersection of Little Spur

Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania, USA

badly damaged

cover and binding deeply scarred

apparently run over by multiple cars.

Joel Wallach. Patterns & Designs in Stained Glass-3. The Glass Works Press 1978.

Under bike rack

in front of GIANT

3015 W Emaus Ave, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA

glue binding deteriorated

from apparent exposure to sun

cover detached

loose pages.

John R. Sweney, J.W. Kirkpatrick, H.L. Gilmour. Songs of Love and Praise. Philadelphia: John J. Hood 1894.

In box of hymnals

on the stairs of Grace Church

421 W Main St, Kutztown, Pennsylvania, USA

fair condition

mild foxing

some minor water damage to the interior.

Songs of Love and Praise

Lew Larason. The Basket Collectors Book. Scorpio Publications 1984.

In dumpster

outside Pfizer Building

630 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, New York, USA

fair condition

minor damage from rain (drizzling when found)

odd as it’s inscribed by the author

to a named individual.

Emily Eden. The Semi-Attached Couple and the Semi-Detached House (Virago Modern Classics). Penguin 1992.

Resting on top of (not in) a trash can

outside Turkey Hill

2900 W Emaus Ave., Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA

possibly purchased from the book shop across the street (Now & Then Books)

and forgotten?

good condition

well-thumbed pages

tight binding.

A.E. Van Vogt. Three Complete Science Fiction Novels (The World of Null-A, The Voyage of the Space Beagle, Slan). Simon & Schuster 1959.

Beneath the BQE

close to the entrance of Brooklyn Navy Yard

141 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, New York, USA

good condition

shockingly pristine dj.

Three Complete Science Fiction Novels

Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Awakening of Intelligence. HarperCollins, 1987.

On seat of a vacant Bieber Bus (a now defunct line)

Port Authority Bus Terminal

625 8th Ave, Manhattan, New York, USA

minimal wear to the binding

some pages have marks and notes in pencil.

Kenneth Low Kelly and Deane B. Judd. The ISCC-NBS Method of Designating Colors and a Dictionary of Color Names. National Bureau of Standards Circular 553. Issued November 1, 1955.

Buried under garbage

in trash can

6th Ave and Dean St, Brooklyn, New York, USA

in surprisingly good condition

considering where it was found.

DDC20: Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index: Edition 20: Volume 1: Introduction: Tables. Albany, NY: Forest Press 1989.

Sidewalk outside the Pratt Institute Manhattan Campus

144 W 14th St, New York, New York, USA

good condition

marked as deaccessioned

from the Pratt Institute Library.

Ousmane Socé DIOP. Karim. Roman Sénégalais. Nouvelles Éditions Latines 1948.

Resting open

Pages down in gutter

outside the Institut Français de Dakar

89 rue Joseph Gomis, Dakar, Senegal

cover creased and scuffed

markings in blue ink

but binding shockingly tight.

Karim

Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The Brothers Karamazov (Signet Classic). Signet Books/New American Library 1960.

On beach

Beach Haven, New Jersey, USA

terrible condition

cover torn off

sand in gutter

multiple pages detached from the binding.

Raymond Queneau. Pierrot mon ami. Éditions Gallimard 1945.

On bench

Le Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France

nice copy

was worried that someone would return for it

so I waited for a while on a nearby bench

before taking.

Titia Joosten. Flower Drying with a Microwave: Techniques and Projects. Lark Books 1988.

On sidewalk

outside Bethlehem Area Public Library

11 W Church St, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

near fine condition

almost new

immaculate dj.

Flow Drying with a Microwave

Mikhail Kuzmin. Selected Prose and Poetry. Ardis, 1980.

In middle of street

Rue Saint-Séverin, Paris, France

fair condition

tight binding

possibly purchased at nearby bookstore (The Abbey Bookshop)

then dropped.

Colin Wilson. Strange Powers. Abacus edition published by Sphere Books, Ltd. 1973.

On table near half-eaten meal

outside Minimax Tacos

Rue de la Servette 55, Genève, Switzerland

corners a little banged up

restaurant was deserted

so figured book was left there

but still felt

like I was stealing it.

Strange Powers

Chukwuemeka Ike. Toads for Supper. Collins Fontana Books 1970.

In trash can

University of Johannesburg

University Rd, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

fair condition

maybe deaccessioned from university library

but no markings.

Amiya Kumar Bagchi. The Political Economy of Underdevelopment. Cambridge University Press 1982.

Next to the Monument du Monstre de Frankenstein

Bd Georges-Favon 38, 1204 Genève, Switzerland

good condition

binding tight as if unread

strange find.

Friedrich Schiller. Schillers sämmtliche Werke : in zwölf Bänden. Stuttgart : J.G. Cotta, 1838.

Found in paper bag

behind Proxi Chancy

Chem. de Champlong 50, Chancy, Switzerland

beat to hell

binding cracked and pealing

radiant.