Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Things We Leave (and Find) in Books

A few weeks ago, I saw this picture of a left-behind bookmark on my local library's Instagram, and it got me thinking...

When we read, we often (hopefully) come away with something new. Maybe it teaches us something. Maybe it reminds us of something. Maybe it articulates something that we've never known how to explain before. To me, a good book leaves you with more than you started with.

But what about the other way around? Do we ever leave the book with something more? A small piece of ourselves, perhaps? A grocery list. A train ticket. A note to self.


Once, in the middle of my sophomore year in college, I found a green leaf pressed between the pages of a book. It felt like magic at the time. I had reached up to dog-ear the page (sacrilege, I know) to bookmark this gorgeous passage and realized there was already a crease from the previous lender. I turned the page and discovered a bookmark leaf – presumably from June 2007, the last time the book had been borrowed from the library. It was green and fresh and brilliant in the middle of winter, fossilized between pages about fossils.

What's the coolest object you've ever found in a book? Alternately, have you ever left something tucked in between the pages, whether accidentally or on purpose?

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