Thursday, October 16, 2008

the things you find in books...

Today I added another item to my accidental collection of oddities found inside second hand books.
I went wandering round the charity shops earlier today and bought this Anne Fine book for my class library.  Inside it was a strange and dark sepia toned photograph of some people in a bar or cafe.
An even stranger photograph was inside this copy of Simone de Beauvoir's 'The Woman Destroyed' that I bought a few months ago.  It's a photo of a woman reading in bed.  On the back of the photo someone has written "Mum in Bed, 6" as if it is one in a series of photographs.  One of the books by her bed is Possession by A.S. Byatt (I love love love that book!) but I can't quite make out what the others are.  Is she ill or does she just love reading too much to get out of bed?  I like the way "Mum's" arms echo the shape of the woman on the cover of the book.  Maybe that's why she's in there.
I bought this strange sounding book by J.P. Donleavy for 50p a little while ago.  Inside it was a 13p stamp, an airmail sticker, a card from a book token (saying, "To Ma Sis, Ruf!  For you to choose the book you want.  Lots of love from Nicky xxx") and two very old pound notes from 1954 and 1949.  How strange.
But the card above is my best inside-a-book-find ever.  I don't remember what book it was in but I use it as a bookmark now.  I know it is wrong to be entertained by other people's misfortune (and goodness knows I can be less than positive at times!) but reading this always makes me giggle.  To protect the unhappy innocents depicted in the letter, I will omit names.  The card reads:

Dear J_____ ,
I was going to spell your name as my sister's.  Nothing much seems to go right for me these days.  I think all the gremlins are out to get me.
Our central heating system has packed in totally.  We've ordered a Rayburn which A_____ says is not going to fit into the space.  F_________ and R_____ think it will fit if they get a heating engineer to do it.  Is this going to offend A_____?  I hate umbrage so hope it will be ok.
Anyway, today I've decided to be positive and get things done, no more despairing or procrastinating.  This is the Venice calendar which I got for you in December - no envelope with it and I've no brown paper.  I'm sending it anyway as the year is wearing on.  I hope the exams are over now and that you are happy with the results.  F______ has a chesty cold and urinary problems.  He has antibiotics and is hopefully on the mend.
These cards are part of my Christmas present from my sister in S____.  Hope you like the calendar.  Give my regards to S____.  

Much love,
E_____ xx


  1. OOooo a girl after my own heart! I worked in a charity shop a couple of years back (my MOST favourite job!) and I used to spend hours in the 'book room' just searching through for lost love notes. I found a few gems, but nothing really spectacular.

    I'm new to your blog, but I like it! I'll stop by again soon!

  2. Thanks for the lovely comment! Finding things in charity shop books is so exciting and I'm always amazed the charity shop workers haven't pilfered them before they reach the shelves. If I ever ended up working in a charity shop I'm sure it would be a one way road to a nervous breakdown - I'd have to check every single book for goodies.


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