So, a week or so ago, I was passing through the campus of the University of Washington when I noticed two brand-new copies of a book sitting on a bench outside. It was a novel, not a textbook, so evidently someone had been passing them out as free samples, and two takers had decided to leave them. Being a chance to get a brand-new book for free, and the book not obviously being a political or religious sect’s recruiting text, I decided to take one.
The book was Wild Animus by Rich Shapero. It’s a somewhat strange (and not entirely realistic) tale about an LSD-using graduate student who takes his hallucinations a little too seriously, eventually to the point of perishing near the summit of Alaska’s Mt. Wrangell.
It turns out that free distribution is evidently the main way the book passes into the hands of the public, and that college campuses are one of the typical venues for such distribution. Apparently it’s written by a somewhat eccentric high-tech millionaire who has decided it’s a good value for his money to pay significant sums having copies of his stories printed, and then to distribute them for free.
I can’t quite share the resentment of the reviews of some of its readers. It’s something of a trippy tale, which turned out to be just about the perfect thing for me to have read during my recent camping trip, on which I did not take any cannabis. The book provided a conveniently drug-free means of entering into a somewhat trippy state of mind.
Having read it, I will now sneak it into the nearest Little Free Library. I will almost certainly not be the first person to sneak a copy of this work into one!