You never know what piece of flotsam will call to life a long-slumbering memory. If you view these pictures of Libraries of the Rich and Famous and scroll down to the last one, you’ll learn that the library depicted is enormous (70,000 books worth $4 million) and belongs to noted academic Richard Macksey. Many years ago, as an appallingly clueless freshman, I enrolled in one of his classes. The exact name escapes me, but it was detective and mystery fiction, from its more traditional forms to The Crying of Lot 49 and Borges’ work. As I said above I was clueless. I never took another class with Mr. Macksey, never read Proust and needless to say never got anywhere near his famous library. Later in my collegiate career I demonstrated I still hadn’t learned anything by taking a class with Orest Ranum and again managing to remain ignorant of the man’s career and accomplishments and exactly how much one could learn from him.
I still plan to attempt Proust though, and maybe I can teach my children to be less oblivious of the opportunities life puts in your path.