• LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

Unusual objects in second hand books

What Are You Reading Now?

Join LibraryThing to post.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

May 12, 2007, 1:17pm Top

I bought a copy of Solaris in a secondhand bookshop in Pasadena a couple of weeks ago and discovered in it a Certificate of Service stating the James B Mullenaux had served in the US Army in 1942 and 1943. It seems to have been used as a document for a mortgage, but I have no idea why it would be used as a bookmark in an edition published in 2002.

(I'm a family history freak, so will try and find out who this man was. Any tips on how to start my search?? I'm in England so don't know much about US archives.)

Anyway, have other people found strange and interesting things in the books they've bought?

May 12, 2007, 1:22pm Top

I'm jealous! Once I found a leftover bookmark, but more usually I find squashed insects...

Edited: Mar 14, 2012, 12:51am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

May 12, 2007, 1:37pm Top

My German is very rrusty - what does it say?

May 12, 2007, 2:56pm Top

Great finds! Like cestovatela, I'm more likely to find grocery receipts or spots of spaghetti sauce or cracker crumbs. :)

May 12, 2007, 2:58pm Top

I recently found $200.00 in a copy of "IBM and the Holocaust". Unfortunately, there were no markings in the book to identify the previous owner, and the bookstore was one of several owned by someone. Books could come in at one store, but be sold at a completely different one.

Edited: Mar 14, 2012, 12:51am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

May 12, 2007, 5:23pm Top

I once bought an old, old book and discovered that it had four leaf clovers pressed all throughout it!

May 12, 2007, 6:00pm Top

Pressed flowers, old (and not so old) photographs, receipts but the best thing was an original (and long) birthday poem written on the inside of the front cover - to someone else, of course.

What have you put in your books?

Mostly I have folded receipts, post-its, bits of paper and anything else that might have been used as a bookmark. Most notable thing: I put a surviving bit of burnt floral lace from the veil of my first wedding gown. It was burnt because I torched the whole thing using lamp oil (only accelerant I could find) - very cathartic:-) What remained of the gown and veil I buried in the garden (someone else's garden...imagine, they have no idea!)

May 13, 2007, 3:28am Top

avaland - maybe there's a thread on a board somewehere entitled 'Unusual things found buried in gardens'!

Nichtglied - thanks for the translation. That's such a sad but nice message to find.

May 13, 2007, 9:01am Top

I use those little sticky tab thingies as bookmarks, so I can see exactly where on the page I left off. I've often found bookmarks, bus tickets and scraps of paper in 2nd hand books that were obviously never finished before they were sent off to the charity shop. I've occasionally found an old postcard inside (never one with a message on though, so I think they must have been holiday reading) and once I found a £5 note inside a book i'd just bought at a charity shop. I was very good and just handed it in to the lady behind the counter. She had no way of knowing where the book originally came from, so the charity got an extra £5 (which made me feel very virtuous). I've did once find a pressed violet between two small sheets of tissue paper inside an old book I got second hand. Very pretty it was too!

May 13, 2007, 10:44am Top

My husband once found about $1,000 in a garage sale book. Took it back and the owners did not seem at all grateful. He grumbled for days that he "should have kept it."
Just recently I found a very cool advertising postcard in a turn of the century novel that I was listing on Amazon. Probably had been used as a bookmark in the early 1900's. I thought that was cool.

13jot First Message
May 13, 2007, 11:20am Top

I recently picked up, for a ridiculous £2, a very sweet small book called 'Haunts of Old London: Being Twenty-five Etchings of Literary and Historical London in Photogravure' by Joseph Pennell. It dates from 'October 1914'. In it is a card inscribed 'A Happy Christmas and a good New Year to Mademoiselle Duprat'. The engraved card is that of 'Miss Forbaugh, General Secretary, British American Young Women's Chrisian Association, 20 rue Godot-de-Mauroi, Paris.' Interesting that the YWCA was established by then, AND in Paris, AND with WW1 ongoing.

May 13, 2007, 11:24am Top

I really haven't found anything too weird. Other than bookmarks made for the purpose, there's been a couple receipts (including one that had the previous owner's full credit card number), a calendar page from the 30s, and an unused Greyhound bus ticket from the early 80s.

May 13, 2007, 11:30am Top

Oops, for 'Chrisian' read 'Christian'. (Yes, I know you could have worked that out!) The street address very much still exists, in the 9th arrondissement, but is now 'Godot-de-Mauroy', for whatever reason.

May 13, 2007, 3:04pm Top

In a second hand book of Camus' The Stranger I bought last fall I found a newspaper article from 1979 about Camus' life and death. That was pretty interesting as I probably wouldn't have bothered to read a biography about him (I didn't like the book too much).

May 14, 2007, 2:24pm Top

Just bought some books at a yard sale this weekend, in fact, and found an unscratched scratch ticket in the front of one of them. Perhaps should've read the rules first/noticed that there was a laughing joker on the front, but it definitely took me 10 seconds of thinking I'd won $50,000 to realize it was a joke. Ha ha.

May 14, 2007, 5:44pm Top

#10 If anybody dug up my old gardens from when I was a child, they would think my family were animal serial killers. Hamsters, goldfish, budgies, cats that were run over :( They all had little tombstones but I'm sure those are all gone now.

May 14, 2007, 6:06pm Top

The only thing I've ever found in used books are bookmarks and scraps of paper.

May 14, 2007, 6:30pm Top

When I started teaching, I found some old books in the closet, and inside one was a letter that the retiring teacher's (the one whose job I got) now-dead husband had sent her from Europe when he was in WWII. I looked in the phone book and saw that her address was the same, and mailed it to her.

I also recently mooched a book from bookmooch that was absolutely filthy on the outside, and contained candy wrappers and other scraps of garbage between various pages. I gave the sender a neutral rating, and received a scathing email about what an asshole I was.

(This is not common bookmooch behavior -- I don't want to put anyone off that wonderful site!)

May 15, 2007, 8:38am Top

I do remember finding a really old "dry goods" receipt in a book I bought. The prices on it were interesting, of course. Now I wonder which book that is in...

May 15, 2007, 10:42am Top

I've never found anything more than slips of paper in second-hand books. Some interesting inscriptions, though, and an autographed copy of Dorothy Allison's Two or Three Things I know For Sure for a whopping $2 I've scored.

Library books are another story. Blood stains, anyone?

May 15, 2007, 10:44am Top

Oh, I found someone's report card once. That was odd. And a boarding pass.

May 15, 2007, 11:04am Top

I just mooched a copy of Storm Front and found a sheet of the "Forever" stamps inside. I'm mailing them back to the person who sent the book.

May 15, 2007, 11:34am Top

My mother has lots of old books from my rich great-grandpa's library, and if you just look through them you'll find tons of stuff in them... I've found pressed flowers, letters from sweethearts (my grandfather was quite the lady's man xD), maps, receipts, notes in the margins, papers with favorite quotes, those model cards that used to come with cigarettes in the 20s, things like that. I have a small collection. I'll have to put some of the things those sweethearts said in those letters, they are quite amusing!

May 15, 2007, 12:41pm Top

I found a letter in a book I received from bookmooch.com today that explained the history of the book. Somehow it made its way from Canada into a Los Angeles Public Library, where a woman who tried to check it out was told it had been withdrawn from circulation. Then the librarian gave it to her as a gift. This woman passed it on to her niece in Yokohama, who then sent it off to me in Tokyo via bookmooch. It was such a nice surprise to receive something like that and now I'm wondering if I ought to do the same for all my bookmooch books.

May 16, 2007, 1:22am Top

#26 That's a really lovely idea.

May 16, 2007, 10:56am Top

I just started at bookmooch.com... A lovely site, and a great idea! I already have a request... I'm so excited!

I was just looking through my grandfather's library, and I've found more things... a really nice picture of a schooner, and he liked to write math problems in the margins and on the covers. The notes go all the way back to 1881!

May 17, 2007, 3:26pm Top

I found an instruction manual for a Kodak camera made in 1900 in a copy of Hunger by Knut Hamsun.

Very weird to read that manual!

Edited: May 18, 2007, 7:33am Top

--> 26

I found a letter in a book I received from bookmooch.com today that explained the history of the book.

Tracking a book's travels is easily done by registering the book at BookCrossing.

In a book of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, I found a folder indicating that the book was summer reading for an incoming class of freshman at James Madison University (from which my son's girlfriend graduated this month. Woo hoo!).

I came across two author signatures in books I purchased for $2 at a used bookstore. The books were Ella Minnow Pea with a sig by Mark Dunn and Far From My Mother's Home with a sig by Barbara Mujica.

May 18, 2007, 8:10am Top

I once found $200 in a book I had purchased in a secondhand shop.

May 18, 2007, 11:00am Top

I found an author signature in The Eyre Affair which I found for $1 at a booksale.

Edited: May 20, 2007, 11:01pm Top

I found a 4-year-old Tokyo Metro pass in When the Emperor Was Divine. I can't read all the kanji, but it cost about $300, is for the Marunuochi line and was issued to a 54-year-old man.

May 28, 2007, 12:46am Top

I have a 1960s volume of Chekhov in Russian (can't figure out how to add it to LT yet...) - inside it I found a yellow legal size piece of paper folded up with the Russian alphabet written down the side of the page and someone's translation of part of a story written out on the front and back page.

Edited: May 31, 2007, 7:25pm Top

The copy of The Places in Between that I purchased today has clearly been to Kyoto. I found a ticket to Kyomizu Dera, the most famous temple there. It's neat because they change picture on the ticket according to the season. The one I have from my visit there is a summer one, but this one has the springtime cherry blossoms on it.

May 30, 2007, 12:18pm Top

I bought a London travel book and found tube ticket stubs. It made me miss living over there.

Edited: May 31, 2007, 6:55pm Top

I used to buy old cookbooks. One of them had several old railroad report sheets tucked inside with recipes written on them. Many of the old cookbooks had recipes jotted down in the margins and on scraps of paper. Oh, and of course, many had food stains! Could always tell which recipes were used the most.

I often use the library hold slip for a bookmark, I'm sure I've left some of them in when they traveled back to the library; and bus tickets, envelopes, junk mail.

If anyone finds one of my bills in a book, would you be so kind as to pay it?! ;o)

What a fun thread!

Jun 16, 2007, 8:50pm Top

In a library book recently I found a slip of paper on which someone had written a script to use when ordering a prescription. Now I can't remember which book it was, and I didn't recognize the name of the drug.

Jun 29, 2007, 5:23pm Top

I found a painting (rather nice watercolor) of Mt. Fuji in a large, coffeetable book called How to Wrap Five Eggs. I've got it hung in my cubicle.

Jul 4, 2007, 3:47pm Top

How come I never find money in books??

One of my friends works in a library in Sweden and found a dead fish in a returned book. Nice.

Jul 4, 2007, 3:50pm Top

>40 charbutton: - do you suppose it was a commentary on the book?

Jul 5, 2007, 6:03am Top

I bought a copy of Walks In Florence by Susan and Joanna Horner published in 1878, as I wanted to know what Florence was like in the days of Henry James and Constance Fenimore Woolson. The copy I bought had been owned by an Englishwoman named Ellen Orton who had bought the book on her return from a trip to Florence. She read through the book and made notes of her comments on various things she had seen. One touching note read something to the effect that this was something she wanted to see "when next I go to Florence". I have always wondered if she was able to go to Florence again, as she seemed to long to return. I came to the conclusion she had not been able to make another visit, as there were no notes in the book indicating she had returned. So the next time I went to Florence I took the book with me, hoping that somehow Ellen would know.

Jul 5, 2007, 9:40am Top

When I bought a used copy of The Brooklyn Follies, I found a postcard in it with this message:

I love you. Don't give up. I'll be there soon. I love you.

It looked really old (older than the book, definitely), and freaked me out. There was no name or address on it. It's hanging on my wall - it seemed wrong to throw it out.

Jul 5, 2007, 11:32am Top

Sorry this is so long, but I thought you all might appreciate it. It's a poem by Billy Collins called "Marginalia" about the writing you find in book margins.

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love."

Jul 7, 2007, 12:18pm Top

In a book from my mothers home, I found a list of things she had ready for the arrival of her fifth baby....all the baby clothes, maternity clothes, etc...I was that fifth baby.

Jul 7, 2007, 12:18pm Top

In a book from my mothers home, I found a list of things she had ready for the arrival of her fifth baby....all the baby clothes, maternity clothes, etc...I was that fifth baby.

Edited: Aug 16, 2007, 11:52am Top

#46, bettyjo - That's lovely!

Aug 12, 2007, 9:26pm Top

bettyjo: this wasn't in a book, but I once found a poem my mom had written when she was pregnant with me. It was all about being tired of raising girls and wanting a boy baby. Ack! I disappointed her from Day One!

She and I came across it when we were looking through a box of photos a few days before she died; she felt so bad! I was never supposed to see it. That's what I get for snooping around my parents' bedroom!

I still have it.

Aug 13, 2007, 9:16am Top

I always check my second hand books for treasures. I have found quite a few bookmarks and I keep those and use them.
Found a airplane boarding pass that was about 15 years old recently.
In a box lot of books I bought at an auction I found an old 1930s advertising booklet used as a bookmark - for Johnson Outboard Motors. Sold it on Ebay for about $25.
Still waiting to find money.

Aug 13, 2007, 2:02pm Top

The most interesting thing that have happened to me with second hand books is having bought three books, owned by the same person in different bookstores and in different years.

Aug 16, 2007, 2:54am Top

I bought a new book today, and in it I found a small piece of white paper, with printing in it that looked like a biblical in spanish, with english footnotes.

Aug 16, 2007, 9:22pm Top

#47...Canadians are so nice thankyou.

Aug 19, 2007, 7:14pm Top

The most interesting item I've found in a book was a set of Belgian postal stamps depicting poodles. (At least I think they were poodles; the lamination was yellowing and smeary.) I've also discovered, of course, the requisite stacks of ticket stubs, business cards, and receipts.

Aug 28, 2007, 8:34pm Top

I found a hallpass from 1986 once besides that it's the usual old bookmarks, candy wrappers and a few $1 bills...

Aug 30, 2007, 8:55pm Top

I find bookmarks in used books, which is great because I collect them.

Once I found a newspaper article about C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.

Another time I bought a paperback copy of L'Engle's An Acceptable Time at a thrift store and when I went to read it, I saw that the entire middle of the book had been gouged out. I was disgusted, both at the person who gouged it and at myself for not flipping through it before I bought it. Oh well; it cost 25 cents.

Edited: Aug 31, 2007, 12:04pm Top

Not really sure how to do this, but here's the first page of a six page typed document. It is apparently by the priest who owned a Bible I acquired from Goodwill. Quite touching. Hope the link works.

It fell out of the Bible along with a boatload of old Mass cards. I hope he got his last wish, that this sermon was indeed read at his funeral. (He says this on the title page.)

Sep 2, 2007, 11:52pm Top

I recently found a million-dollar bill in a book - fake, obviously. :)

Sep 4, 2007, 12:44pm Top

I love buying second hand book in part for that reason. I always keep or leave in the stuff I find in them. Usually I just find shopping lists and things like that.

My favorite by far: My friend and I were digging through the thrift store's book selection. Knowing he was trying to get a book on every US president, I grabbed a copy of Jimmy Carter's autobiography for him to look at. When I opened it, not only was it signed, but there was a polaroid of two elderly ladies with Jimmy Carter.


Jan 1, 2008, 11:56am Top


Jan 2, 2008, 2:56am Top

I purchased a copy of A Reader's Guide Book that had a newspaper clipping with the headline "Harvard to Have Film Library to Preserve Cultural Progress" and beneath that "Believed Motion Pictures Have Reached Stage Where They Should Be Considered in Historial and Technical Study of Art." I have no idea how long it has been in the book (which dates from 1924), although it has been long enough that the clipping and the pages that it was between are all discolored. I don't even know what newspaper it was from!

Jan 2, 2008, 2:14pm Top

I bought a second hand Enid Blyton book from my library. Inside was, "Happy birthday, Sanjee. Hope you enjoy the book. September 21st, 1974."

Jan 2, 2008, 4:40pm Top

Recently bought a second hand book - inside was a discoloured file card with a hand written list of times (and the place - a high school which is only a few blocks from where I teach) for lessons in Disco Dancing. I suspect it was from the 1970's!

Jan 2, 2008, 6:54pm Top

I have no connection to the telegram you found. Except I live in Elkhart,In. Maybe someone dropped the book in a Goodwill box here. Interesting.

Jan 2, 2008, 8:12pm Top

Found an autographed, postcard-sized picture of Marceau Marceau in a weird Polish novel I bought of a NYC street vendor.

My wife and I also recently bought a picture book for my daughter that had a tender little poem of dedication inscribed in the front by the original recipient's grandfather. The little ingrate (or their dastardly parents) must have turned right around and sold it, since it was a recent picture book. We wouldn't have even bought the book, but we wanted the amateur poet's work to be in a household where it was appreciated.

Jan 8, 2008, 12:05am Top

My wife bought a copy of a biography of 19th century authors that was published in the early 1880s. Marking the chapter on Lousia May Alcott was a newspaper clipping of Louisa May Alcott's obituary.

That was cool.

Jan 8, 2008, 11:20am Top

A few years ago, I found a hard cover edition of "Show Boat" by Edna Ferber, bought it then set it aside for a year or so before opening it again. To finally read. When I propped the book up, an old sepia-toned photograph of a river and in the distance, a show boat, fell from the pages. Written in pencil on the back was something about St. Louis and 1927.

Jan 9, 2008, 12:53pm Top

>64 tatleriv:-There's an unwritten law (not rule-a law) in my family that if someone writes a message in the book, you can't ever give it away. I have a huge collection of inscribed books because of that.

I tend to find fairly mundane in my used books-old bookmarks, shopping lists, reciepts, the occassional baby picture, religious tracts...but it still feels like opening a box of Cracker Jacks every time I look through a used book. The interesting items I find usually come from books returned to the library-those get downright strange/disgusting. At least in a used book store, someone has given the book a sniff test to see if anything biodegradable has been left in the book.

Jan 17, 2008, 6:44pm Top

Bought a secondhand book the other day - inside was a high school student I.D. card from a couple of years ago - with the student's photo. I'm a high school teacher and that particular school is only 10 minutes from mine.

Jan 26, 2008, 11:45pm Top

Granted, this isn't exactly unusual given the context, but I don't seem to find many foreign objects in my books. I found a three-page printout of an encyclopedia article on Emily Dickinson, in Richard B. Sewall's The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Jan 27, 2008, 8:16pm Top

I've found many items in used books in my time, but sadly, none come to mind right now except . . .

I once did find money! I was in a very funky thrift store in the Tenderloin, perhaps the funkiest neighborhood in San Francisco. I bought a copy of Tender is the Night, and when I got it home and scanned through it, out fell a $20 bill! I have kept that bill, too. Just seemed like good luck to hang on to it.

Jan 28, 2008, 2:31pm Top

I found a receipt for a payment on a piano bought in the 40's.

Jan 28, 2008, 2:44pm Top

#71 cal8769: Cool! How much did it cost, out of curiosity?

Jan 28, 2008, 2:50pm Top

I put post-it notes into books I give away. They just used to have a recommendation on them like "if you like this book you might also enjoy this one" but since I discovered Library Thing I have also started including the website information as well.

I'm hoping one day I come across someone on here who joined because they found one of my post-it's.

Jan 28, 2008, 6:19pm Top

I found a credit card reciept in one I got in the mail. Other than that the only thing I've found was a playing card that I think they used as a book mark.

Jan 28, 2008, 7:00pm Top

#72 I wish I knew. It was for a payment of $2.00.

Jan 30, 2008, 8:41pm Top

I absolutely LOVE this thread! I haven't found anything more exotic than old family photos, shopping lists, airplane boarding passes, concert ticket stubs, antiquated bookmarks inside used books, but I love that connection with previous owners. I know people who hate the idea of a book being previously owned; being touched by unknown fingers (and germs?). But they're missing out! Of the many used books I buy, few have "extras." But when they do, it's a bit like finding a pearl inside an oyster (not that I've ever FOUND a pearl inside an oyster; though I did try).

Feb 14, 2008, 6:39pm Top

I bought an old copy of The sundowners by Jon Cleary (which is a book about a family in Australia) from a dealer in Oreagon.In the book was a $1.00 bill from Canada, an envelope from Denten, Texas sent to a person in Trenton , New Jersey and a piece of paper with a name and address of a Karen from Lincoln, Nebraska. There must be a story in there somewhere.

Feb 14, 2008, 7:15pm Top

A computer punch card. A relic, by today standards, but only some three decades old.

Edited: Feb 14, 2008, 10:54pm Top

Was out of town on business and found a nice used book shop, bought a copy of an Edward Hopper picture book. Inside I found a gold chain with what looked like a small diamond pendant. I bought the book back to the store where the proprietor assured me he knew the previous owner well and would make sure it got to them. I had to return 2 weeks later and went back to the same store and the owner was wearing the chain. When I brought it to her attention because I just had to...She totally denied the whole thing.

An X fiance gave me rare first editions of The Road to Oz and Ozma of Oz by Frank Baum and inside the covera were the following inscriptions:
This book belongs to Byron Ellis Jr. 924 Harvey Ave Oak Park Ill from Uncle Charlie. A book to read while quarantined with the second spell of Scarlet Fever. Dated February 12, 1928

Feb 15, 2008, 9:31am Top

A nice surprise I had recently was to find that a previous owner of a railway book had reviewed it for the RCHS Journal, and left the typescript of his review tucked inside the front cover, together with an extra sheet listing errata he'd notified to the author. I got my father to check his back-issues of the Journal, and we found that the review had indeed been published in 1966.

Feb 15, 2008, 10:51am Top

That's a good one, thorold.

ljreader--I hope you didn't buy another book from those crumbs. You expect better of book people, don't you?

Feb 15, 2008, 11:24am Top

Not an object, as such, but a really good name for a secondhand bookshop, spotted last week: The Novel Hovel.

Feb 16, 2008, 3:00am Top

laytonwoman3rd--You are correct I do expect better from book people and I did not buy another book...To quote the late great John Lennon "Instant Karmas gonna get you"

Feb 16, 2008, 8:44am Top

As I was sorting through books to post on LT, I flipped open one of my husbands books about the Sea War of WWII. I was looking in the back for additional information for posting. I found a semi-coherent letter scribbled on the end pages. It was from a man, to a woman it didn't sound like he was married to. Anyway, I asked husband where he got the book and he said it was one of his Dad's books. We looked through the book some more and found names scribbled in the margins. Turns out we know the son of the man who wrote the letter, but we have no idea of where he is anymore. Don't know if the woman was his mother or not. Just one of those little book mysteries you run into when you inherit books or buy used ones.

lj, love the Lennon quote.

Feb 16, 2008, 8:46pm Top

Thanks, Robert. :)

I found this handwritten on the back of a receipt stuffed in a book at my bookstore...

"When he left that morning and I pretended to be asleep and he pretended to believe me, I knew he would never touch me again. I knew it was done. I'd been finishing it ever since it started to look like he might stay. God knows I can't stand for somebody to want to stay. He could always do better than me and now he knows it. I held him at an arm's length with my too-wide smile and chatterbox bravado. He never even got a real kiss until that last night when he didn't care anymore."

Feb 17, 2008, 7:23am Top

Wow, I think I would like to read where that story goes!!!

Feb 17, 2008, 9:21am Top

#77 Was that a while ago? We haven't had $1 bills here in Canada for a long time - think we went to the coins ca 1989.

Feb 17, 2008, 9:29am Top

My local charity shop had a whole load of new books arrive yesterday, I think from a house clearance.I was the first customer to look through them and I found quite a few things tucked inside them including:

A handmade bookmark with pressed flowers glued to it.
A postcard of a cartoon girls pink face.
A very small thin plait of what seems to be human hair.
A joke rude Christmas card (Jesus loves you, everyone else thinks you are a ****)
A peice of toilet roll (thankfully clean and unused)
A cut out picture of a bed from a catalogue
A very explicit love letter complete with stickers and cut out/stuck on words and pictures.
A school photo of a young boy
A pressed leaf
A handwritten recipe for chocolate cake
A train ticket to Sheffield from Doncaster
A review of the book cut out from a magazine

They were all brought in by the same person and the lady who runs the charity shop says she thinks the person they belonged to was an elderly lady who recently died. Which would be okay but the rude Christmas card and the very racy love letter don't seem to fit the idea of that.

Edited: Feb 17, 2008, 12:55pm Top

#87 dihiba

No. I just got the book about 6 months ago. But the envelope was pre-zipcode so they were old. The book was published in 1951 or 1952.

Feb 17, 2008, 12:58pm Top

Interesting - perhaps the dollar bill is from that era too.

Edited: Feb 17, 2008, 1:50pm Top

Nope. Just checked. The bill is dated 1973. That makes it more interesting.
1950's book and envelope. with a meesage slip for Karen (with a zipcode) and a 1973 dollar bill. I still wish I could write a story about it.

This thread has brought to mind the poem;

The Unknown Citizen
by W. H. Auden

(To JS/07 M 378
This Marble Monument
Is Erected by the State)

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in a hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

92carpelibrisreviews First Message
Feb 18, 2008, 2:14pm Top

I once found a 1920's girlie postcard in an antique book that was left behind when my parents bought an old house. It wasn't that risque for today's standards, but I bet her mother would have been humiliated to find her posing for photos in that bathing suit!

Feb 20, 2008, 1:45am Top

These three photos in three different books...

Feb 20, 2008, 3:30am Top

This is my favorite thread!

Once I found half a photograph in a book---looked like a post break-up torn photo.

Is anyone familiar with Found Magazine? www.foundmagazine.com

Feb 21, 2008, 5:55pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Feb 21, 2008, 6:00pm Top

man, this thread makes me wish that LA had more second hand bookshops. ya can't find anything interesting in a new book >(

Feb 21, 2008, 6:49pm Top

My first NaNoWriMo novel was about a girl who bought a used book at Powell's one day and found an intriguing inscription and some accompanying slips of paper in the book. After unraveling the mystery (and falling in love!) it turned out she was the long lost heir to the Powell's fortune! This was one of those thinly-veiled-fictionalization-of-author-as-main-character wish fulfillment vanity novels. It also involved secret tunnels in the Rare Book Room.

Feb 21, 2008, 7:03pm Top

It sounds fun! i'd read it :)

Edited: Feb 21, 2008, 7:21pm Top

Too bad it was really awful and remained unfinished. When I say "after unraveling the mystery" that plot point only actually happened in my head ;) I think I made it to 50,000 words that year but the actual story wasn't finished. I would love to read it if someone else wrote it, though ;) And too bad that there already is an heir to the Powell's fortune. Hmm, I wonder if he is married...

ETA: Ok, the "heir" I was thinking of is 67 years old and has an heir of his own who is a girl, who is age appropriate for me, but, alas, I am straight.

Feb 21, 2008, 7:18pm Top

The book The House of Paper by Carlos Maria Dominguez was the same.
An inscription in a book from "Carlos' covered in cement sent the main charature on a trip to Uraguay to find out, "who is Carlos and why the cement?"

Edited: Feb 21, 2008, 9:05pm Top

> 99:

Too bad it was really awful and remained unfinished. When I say "after unraveling the mystery" that plot point only actually happened in my head ;) I think I made it to 50,000 words that year but the actual story wasn't finished. I would love to read it if someone else wrote it, though ;)

I believe Thursday Next spent some time in this story in The Well of Lost Plots.

> 93: frogbelly, I would love to know what book each of those photos were found in. Don't know why it would make a difference, but I'm just curious, if you happen to remember. All three of them are extremely evocative.

Feb 21, 2008, 9:08pm Top

#99 don't give up! who knows! you could become famous writer someday :) you already have the blurb for your bookjacket. haha.

101 - aw i miss thursday, i should re-read those at some point.

Feb 21, 2008, 10:46pm Top

101- I'm not sure which books the first and third came from because they were posted in the break room in my bookstore. The second one (my favorite) was in a Chuck Klosterman book. Weird. ha

Feb 26, 2008, 1:59am Top

I've never found actual cash, but when I was adding my grandfather's copy of Little Lord Fauntleroy to my library yesterday I found a One "Fun Unit" dollar bill from Red Goose Shoes. This morning I found an unused sheet of 32 cent dinosaur stamps in my husband's copy of The Turn of the Screw. I don't need to go to used bookstores to find oddities -- my own library is full of them! I had a roommate who swore that you could take any book at random from my shelf and find something inside it.

Feb 26, 2008, 2:19am Top

I can count on one hand the number of books I've bought brand new. Used books have so much more character. I've also found the standard bits of random paper, grocery lists, ticket stubs, a calling card from a German Frauline....
But I also like the inscriptions.

Found in a book of sonnets, "To Bob: to share one breath of noonday in an embrace of daffodils...Love, Caroline".

Bob apparently had other thoughts - hence the book was available for purchase in the shop I frequent!

Feb 27, 2008, 11:17pm Top

Today a woman came up to sell books and as I was going through them I noticed that one was just full of old photographs- mostly of this beautiful little girl with long red hair. They looked to be school photographs from the 70s and 80s. When the lady came back up to the counter I told her what I found and gave them back to her. She told me that the little girl was her daughter who died in an accident with her fiance a couple of years ago. She told me the story and it was as unpleasant as you can imagine so I wont repeat it here, but still, wow, you know. I wish I had one of the pictures to post here as well.

Feb 27, 2008, 11:32pm Top

I picked up a copy of The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier at a Book Fair last year and found a copy of the Literary Guild Review ("Wings"), with The Scapegoat as the featured selection, dated March 1957. The books listed and the prices were delightful!

Feb 28, 2008, 8:25am Top

frogbelly: Wow. How does one respond to something like that? I'd have no idea what to say to her without sounding like a completely insensitive idiot. What a sad sad story.

Mar 1, 2008, 1:35pm Top

Although not an unusual object to find in a book, I once found in a library book a bookmark with a quote from Martin Farquhar Tupper that says "A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever." My daughter saw me using the bookmark today and remarked how true it is.

Mar 1, 2008, 5:28pm Top

>105 MoiraStirling: I like the inscriptions, too. I have one (a copy pf Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior) that reads, "To Liz, in honor of her impeccable manners and to replace the copy that I bled on."

Anyone else have oddly inscribed books?

Mar 1, 2008, 5:41pm Top

Wow, lots of neat things found in books. Especially the money.=) I wish I found something as interesting. I've only found a business card, a bank deposit slip from the 1970s, and an airplane ticket. Nothing exciting.LOL.

Mar 3, 2008, 2:20pm Top

Another wonderful thread that only book lovers can truly appreciate!

Last week I found $7 and was wildly happy, being in my usual freelancer's perpetual waiting-for-a-check mode . . . the book was a Dean Koontz; I don't read him but was collecting books for someone who asked for them on Freecycle (www.Freecycle.org). She wants Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Barbara Delinsky, which seems a somewhat unusual (and limited) trio.

After she had died, in one of my mother's books I found four little slips of paper with a detailed accounting of everything she spent on my college education! I also found my sister's birth certificate.

The most intriguing thing I've found is a postcard with a picture of a very elaborate doorknocker--sort of a gargoyle's head. I would love to know where this building is--the feeling I get is that it might be some German church, but how would I ever find out?

Mar 3, 2008, 4:50pm Top

Post the picture here -- someone just might recognize it!

Edited: Mar 3, 2008, 11:37pm Top

>110 aviddiva: aviddiva... thats awesome. i like odd inscriptions more than sappy ones, i feel that they have more character, probably just personal preference but i prefer something that'll make me laugh in 5 years.

No one i know puts inscriptions in books anymore, I think i'll have to do that next time i buy someone a book... i'm going to put something weird.

Maybe bookmoochers should start inscribing books to each other, what would you inscribe to a stranger?

Mar 4, 2008, 4:08am Top

"Give me back my book, you son of a ..."

Mar 4, 2008, 4:10am Top

"I have torn out the last page of this book"

"The butler did it" (if a mystery)

"The zebra did it" (if a dictionary)

"This book has been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation"

maybe i shouldn't inscribe books.

Mar 4, 2008, 7:15am Top

I always inscribe books that I give. I once inscribed a book to my son, an only child, 'Merry Christmas,I got you this book because I love you best, don't tell the other kids'. Now, I know he doesn't look in the front, just dives in or the book is sitting in a pile of 'crap my mother sent me'. Usually I just note the date and the occasion and a personal message.

Mar 4, 2008, 11:27am Top

"This book will self-destruct if not returned, taking the rest of your library with it."

"Fly free, little book...."

Mar 5, 2008, 2:33pm Top

> 116, I would love to use the last inscription you listed. I fear it would scare people thought (I work in a nuclear power plant).

Mar 5, 2008, 5:04pm Top

Found an add/bookmark for http://readerprivacy.org/ that stated simply "Is someone reading over your shoulder?" Made me paranoid.

Last interesting thing I found in a book was not so much unique, as it was personally valuable. Found a box set of the Remembrance of Things Past that was so thick with added notes and scribbles and the reader's insights that the collection was heavily discounted and thrown in the "ruined" section. Glad they didn't take out all the notes and clippings, because that's why I bought it.

Mar 5, 2008, 8:27pm Top

While flipping through a book in the library I found a ticket stub (July 10, 2007) from the Bodies exhibit that was here in NY. It had a photo of one of the cadavers with its innards exposed. As I wasn't checking the book out, I felt I should leave the find for the next person...so there it remains.

Mar 5, 2008, 11:31pm Top

Forgot about another thing I found in a library book...

Someone had written a little love letter on a postcard, addressed and everything but apparently misplaced. It was already old, and wasn't sure what to do with it (probably should have left it) but I kept it, forgot about it for years and then mailed it for some reason.

I don't know how I feel about that now. Not sure how those people's lives have changed, or if it was even meant to be sent. Probably shouldn't have interjected.

Mar 6, 2008, 12:15am Top

^I think that on some level, any letter that is written and addressed is meant to be sent. Also, any emotional pain it might have caused might well have turned into poignant nostaligia years later. The emotional events I found painful years ago, related to relationships I mean, are not so painful anymore. I can understand your ambivalence, though.

Edited: Mar 7, 2008, 11:22pm Top

MrAndrew & Aviddiva

LOL i love them!

I wonder how many people would actually wonder just for a moment if it was true. Most readers have overly active imaginations. :)

Either way, I'd love to see stuff like that in a book, gives it a little history or personality that normal ones off the shelves don't have.

Group: What Are You Reading Now?

4,768 members

116,587 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.




You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 116,095,933 books! | Top bar: Always visible