Slightly quirky post from me today but it’s been very Man Booker heavy and thought would pop something a bit different in today’s blog. I meant to originally do this post after I had read Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner. It was the inside of the book cover that inspired me to start thinking about writing this post which is all about something I have been collecting for ages. The random things that we can sometimes find in second hand books or the notes people have left for whomever they gave the book to. The inside of my copy of Hotel Du Lac is one of the latter.
A lovely reminder that someone, who remains nameless, bought this ‘for Greg, Christmas 85’ and because it was ‘one of my favourites’. I used to not like books to have names written in the covers and actually avoid them in charity shops turning my nose up, now I see it as a bit of history. I do try not to think how someone bought that book for someone special and they gave it away or something as that taints it somewhat. I do have a little collection of things I have found in the last year in books.
- A Hatchard’s gift tag “Richard – (Belated) Happy Birthday! With love, Stephen xx”
- A post-it note of Andrews ‘things to do’ including ‘envelopes for booths’… interesting.
- Two ABC tickets for 30th September 2000 though it annoyingly doesn’t say what film or which ABC cinema.
- A stock control card from ‘Wimbledon Books’ for ‘A Bit of Singing & Dancing’ by Susan Hill which wasn’t the book I found it in nor does that book shop exist any longer.
- A boarding stub for a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Fiumicino on the 17th of December, which year I will never know.
- Postcard from the V&A which has been used as a week planner and mentions ‘Thursday = Inca-Market Leather Factory”
- Some foreign phrases cello taped together both reading “Frigo – raccordez après s’il vous plait!”
- A postcard of ‘Old Troon Golf Course’ taken from the ‘Marine Hotel, Troon’ a place I had never heard of before.
I love all of these little things that books have carried with them over the years as well as the words that they have enclosed. In fact I have always said I would like to write a book of short stories based around just these sorts of hidden gems. I think out of all of the above the one that could instantly give you the most information is the postcard from Troon sent at 4.30pm dated 7th July 1977…
Weather in the high 80’sand I have to sit indoors all day, terrible. Slumming it at the five star Tunbury Hotel isn’t too bad – food quite tolerable and 1961 Chateaux Brown (Claret) slips down a treat. Hope all is well in London? My love to Char. J x
I think that’s priceless and conjures so much up instantly. A slightly different post I will grant you but its book related and is something that fascinates me. Is there anyone else out there who loves finding these things? Have you ever bought a book just because it had something old as a previous book mark, or have you popped said bookmark into the book you want to buy not the one it was it? What’s the strangest thing you have found? I would love to hear back from all of you on this as it really intrigues me. Oh, or what is the sweetest or most insteresting inscription you have found in a book?