"And what books did you choose?" says the older gentleman in the yarmukle as I pause next to him. His beard is full and unkempt beneath kind, faraway eyes, and he is pulling volumes from the tables of used books on this Upper West Side street and taking notes from them despite the disapproving looks from the proprietor.
I present my choices for his approval: an encyclopedia of the occult, a book of comparative mythology about shamanic traditions in ancient Britain, some literary criticism by Italo Calvino, and one by Robert Anton Wilson that I haven't read yet.
He nods appreciatively, saying, "Well, I've been writing a book about swimming and the kabbalah which you might find interesting."