Luck! It was with me recently. I had been to a talk with some friends the other eve, a talk by Barbara Ehrenreich about enforced “optimism” and the negative impact that has on society. It was a good presentation, based on the research she did for her book Bright-sided: How The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. I would like to read that book, and others that she has written.

While walking along the street an hour or so after the rich and vibrant presentation, one of my friends spotted something unusual… a cookbook. Yes. A cookbook was lying outside, in November, in Montreal. This cookbook was one she recognised, and she and another friend commented on it being a good one, or at least one that they “knew”. I looked over, and with my friends’ encouragement, did what the yellow sticky note on it told me to.

"I am a free Book Take me home"

Looking into the book, I found cartoons, lots of recipes that are cute and easy-to-follow-looking… one section on vegetarian cooking, too. Phew! I will look through and try some of the recipes. I do like cartoons mixed in with my reading…

One especially interesting and odd thing about this “find” is that it has a sticker inside the front page. The sticker says that the book is registered with… an organisation that encourages people to share books, and for those books to travel. This cookbook is assigned an ID number. I went to the site, typed in the book’s ID number, and added this to the journal for that book:

“It was a delight when my friends pointed out this book on a bench near McGill… I picked it up, looked at it, realised the little stick-it-note told me it was “ok” to take it… and then discovered the sticker inside! I am looking forward, especially, to trying the vegetarian dishes. I am in the middle of entering something on a blog about “luck”, and this book and experience is the centrepiece. Thank you… will review later when I’ve used it! (The blog is NH”

Luck, circumstance… considering the negative aspects of “positive thinking”… anonymously shared cookbooks. What a day may bring. You never do know.

Natasha Henderson in Montreal