Free Market Find: Ernest Hemingway’s Garden of Eden


Ernest Hemingway - Garden of Eden

I’ve read two novels by Ernest Hemingway. I positively loved A Moveable Feast, and liked To Have to Have Not well enough to want to continue reading through the Hemingway bibliography. As luck would have it, last week I stumbled upon one of his posthumously published works, The Garden of Eden.

One of my favorite parts of living in Brooklyn is the sheer volume of what ends up on people’s doorsteps, ripe for the taking. It’s a wonderful system: if you have a book, movie, pair of shoes, etc., that you don’t want anymore, put it outside. Someone will take it. And then, when that person has read/watched/worn the item enough, it might end up on the front porch again. Some neighborhoods discourage this, but thankfully mine isn’t one of them. And when the weather is warm, the volume multiples (as it does around the first of the month).

Of course, one must make sure that the items they grab are not ridden with bedbugs, but that’s a small price to pay for free stuff.

I was walking to Prospect Park when I oh-so-responsibly passed by three piles of books without even looking at them. Three! That’s unheard of for me. But a few blocks later I passed by a fence with only two books leaned up against it. I couldn’t not look at the titles. The first one didn’t interest me, I already forget what it was. The second one caught my eye: it was, of course, The Garden of Eden.

As a matter of fact, the two others Hemingways that are currently residing on my bookshelf were also free market finds. Nothing like getting a free trio of books by a great author, in good condition to boot!

What great reads have you ever snagged for free? Does getting a book for free change your opinion of it at all? For me, it makes me less reluctant to “give up” if it’s something I really don’t like. Since I didn’t pay for it, I don’t mind giving up if I’ve read the first 50 pages and it just isn’t for me. Since I’m fairly picky in my selections, I usually don’t grab anything I don’t recognize, but every once in awhile you’ll get some clunkers by accident. When that happens, it’s back out to the curb for someone else to love, or give up on.


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