The overpriced and understudied behemoth from “Intro to Econ” was easy to part with. And my well-used grammar and exercise books from French I and II? How useful could they be in our tiny apartment, on our tiny budget, with me staying home to take care of our tiny baby? In such straitened circumstances, I didn’t need those books taking up room in my life; I needed whatever money they might bring.
But those were not the only books I culled from my little library. I gathered up Robert Lowell and Alice Walker, Edmund Spenser and Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lucretius and Virginia Woolf, Lorraine Hansberry and Aristotle, Montaigne and Nietzsche, Flaubert, Boethius and Baudelaire, and many others besides — most of them authors I had never so much as heard of before I set foot on the Stanford campus.