Wednesday, December 31, 2008

#52 - Mongo: Adventures in Trash

Woo-Hoo made it! Down to the wire! (Well, truthfully I've read more than 52 books but I wanted to end on something special) I managed to still hit my mark even with a wedding tossed in which basically consumed June and July, but my extended break now in December got me back on track.

Mongo: Adventures in Trash by Ted Botha is a book about Mongo. Mongo is loosely defined as any found item discarded by someone else, i.e. trash. I can appreciate a good find myself, and my bedroom TV would be considered "Mongo" since it came from a neighbor who was lovingly setting it out on the curb with remote and all. When I asked about it he said it worked fine but they had got a new bigger one and that he hoped someone would give it a good home since it was in excellent shape. I had a bad experience in college when we found some nice padded bar stools that after lugging across campus we found to be soaked through with what we hoped was just rainwater, they went quickly back out for the trash man or a braver hunter than I.

Ted Botha becomes one with the homeless, vagabonds, rebels, collectors, and even businessmen. Each chapter follows a new person's story and he jumps right into their world with very little apprehension or judgment. The tales are all very interesting and unique. Some are what you would expect, but others tell of rare book sellers (all found) and a man with a particular knack for hunting out some real treasures. Others hunt for food, while some hunt out of compulsion. If it were not New York City I have a feeling much of the hunting would not be so hot, but on the other hand it is nice to see that even with such riches and massive waste that there are those who turn it into a positive. This book offers a little of everything; sadness, humor, rags, and riches. Highly Recommended.

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