The train station where I start my day every morning has this spinner rack of free books for commuters. I believe paperbacks are the best format a book can come in—I love everything about them from the size to the art to the smell. And I’ve managed to snag some truly great novels from this spinner including two by Gene Wolfe (Book of the New Urth and Free Live Free), a big thick collection of Dashiel Hammett stories and Watership Down.
What I really love about the Spinner Rack of Destiny though is the random nature of the collection. There are amazing sci-fi and crime novels mixed in the with diet guides from the seventies, endless romance novels and political autobiographies from candidates who last ran a decade ago.
The spinner rack embodies the best kind of browsing: the books are completely uncategorized and of wildly varying quality. Exactly the kind of place you’re likely to find something unexpectedly wonderful.