The Animals Section
Sandie Maxa


Last Saturday I visited a used book store in Port Jefferson, New York. It was cold and blustery... a perfect day to wander the stacks without a plan. Smitten with the colorful covers and straightforward titles in my immediate view, I found myself in the section, ANIMALS, for a good long time.

I never browse the Animals section, but at this shop that specializes in scholarly, scarce and out-of-print books I found it magical. My favorite was a book simply called, Insects: Year of Agriculture, 1952 and credited to the United States government. I avoided World of Snakes, but was drawn to a small paperback called Elephants. Published in 1962, it has a modernist cover, intriguing diagrams and enticing chapter titles like: "Love Among the Elephants" and "The Elephant Body and How it Works." For $3.00 it was mine.



Next to a 1940s Audobon Guide to North American Birds, was a tempting picture book called, Kittens with cuddly white felines lounging on '70s era afghans and wicker chairs. My tour of the animal kingdom came to an abrupt end, however, when I opened a benign-looking book about do-it-yourself cat surgery.