On Notes Found in Secondhand Books

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

I sometimes come across notes left in secondhand books when I work as a charity bookshop volunteer. These appeared in a donation last year. The notes that turn up are usually banal. Sometimes they’re a bit more intriguing, like these. When I used to photograph clothing for online sales, I’d have to check a garment’s pockets so that customers didn’t get any nasty surprises – not my favourite job in the world – and I once found a note that read ‘Remember to ring the mortuary’. It’s a good idea to share these notes with fellow volunteers. They’re the nice surprises. A bit of mystery for the day.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Secondhand Bookshops, Volunteering and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to On Notes Found in Secondhand Books

  1. Stefanie says:

    I’m curious what the titles of the books you found the notes in were? Did they relate to the notes in any way or are they completely random?

    Like

    • Jeff says:

      Good question. It’s going to be a boring answer though – I don’t remember. I know it wasn’t what you’d expect, i.e. a self-help title, and that it was incongruous, but apart from that, no idea! I found the notes in a jacket pocket, so I probably kept them with a view to blogging about notes one day. I do remember finding them. It was last autumn when I dealt with the deliveries of book bank donations. Notes are regular occurrences.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah says:

    I love the stuff you find in secondhand books – old bookmarks, bus tickets, margin notes, etc. But at least with a book, you know you’re not going to discover something unpleasant. I had a friend whose eccentric uncle used to fashion fake turds out of clay and deposit them in the pockets of garments in posh department stores. It was a source of great family shame that he frequently got cautioned by the police about it. I secretly think he’s a bit of a genius, but I probably would find it less funny if I was on pocket minesweeping duty!

    Like

    • Jeff says:

      Great story about the eccentric uncle! I suppose he could have claimed that placing clay turds in posh pockets was conceptual performance art.
      Secondhand books do have more than their share of bus, train and event tickets. I’ve encountered receipts that go back to the 1970s. Some of the prices are astounding.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ste J says:

    It’s amazing what people use for bookmarks, students use take away menus of course but I once found a romantic poem done on a type writer in a Reader’s Digest agatha Christie book which I posted about back in the day. The most intriguing thing was that it had a watermark on saying hans bank…I never found out what that was all about…thanks Google!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff says:

      Ah, I’d forgotten about the receipts that turn up in uni library books. They’re a glimpse into student life. A lot of dating and unhealthy yet expensive meals.
      Can’t find your found poem on your blog – could you re-post it?

      Like

      • Ste J says:

        Pressed flowers are a nice touch, I found some of those once, luckily the book wasn’t harmed.

        Here’s the link, it was a complete surprise, I wish I had a few more like it. https://bookmust.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/surprisingly-poetic/

        Like

        • Jeff says:

          Yeah, looks like the note could have been left inside unintentionally. But by whom? The sender or the recipient?

          Couldn’t find from your comments section what the book was.

          I’m told indirectly that someone who follows me on Facebook used to collect notes from secondhand books. Apparently she’s binned them. Maybe there were too many receipts from hardware stores and post-its about remembering to buy some milk?

          Nicely handling on the troll btw 😆

          Like

          • Ste J says:

            I got that troll comment a while after I posted it I believe and then I did a whole post entitled Who Do You write For and riled up my regulars to send her a broadside back. It’s nice to get everybody gunning for me, that’s me bringing WordPress together.

            It’s a shame there aren’t more surprises in books worth keeping, I’m not surprised your follower bins all the dull ones. The book I found mine in was one of those 3 in 1 Reader’s Digest Agatha Christie omnibuses. I wonder if whoever put it there misses it, I have no idea how old it could be…

            Liked by 1 person

  4. elmediat says:

    Fascinating and a bit of melancholic – fragments of lives, like shards of ancient pottery.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s