Wednesday, August 04, 2010

books with random bonus stuff

So yesterday I finished reading 1215: The Year of Magna Carta by Danny Danziger and John Gillingham.  It's a nice light read of a pop-history book and I recommend it to anyone in that sort of thing.  I borrowed this copy from my wife's uncle.  He's a fabulous fellow: a retired history teacher, a man-about-the-world, and a jazz enthusiast.  His wife is a classy dame as well, so we always have a grand ol' time when we visit them in the suburbs of Chicago.  Going to see them is one of the very few reasons I will put up with the abomination that is traffic in and about the Windy City.  What can I say?  As a country lad I'm more used to dirt roads where you have to pull over to let past the tractor going the other way than 8 lanes of scalding blacktop with 3 different ramps and 72 signs/signals and oh-crap-more-construction and everyone is driving 20 miles over the posted limit despite all of this.

Whenever I read a book that has been in someone else's hands I'm always fascinated by any little mark left behind, whether it be a note passed to the DM in a copy of Judges Guild's Ready Ref Sheets or that time I bought a used copy of Palladium's Heroes Unlimited based soley on the fact that someone had written 'No Nazis!!!!' on the inside cover.  The author of this note even scrawled a big swastika (backwards, I'm pretty sure) and then drew a big circle with a slash over it.  Sweet.

But usually I have no idea who wrote or deposited stuff in a book I picked up used or borrow from the library.  In this case it's like I have a secret window into Tom based upon the bewildering array of things I found lodged between the pages of 1215.  Dig it:

I often use the receipt from the store as a bookmark.  Poor chap paid full cover price.  I had no idea Tom was interested in tennis, but apparently he followed Northwestern University's teams for at least one season.  The link on the little scrap of newspaper,, doesn't seem to be working.  But maybe he wanted to save the email address of the columnist.  The reverse side doesn't seem to be very promising.

Tom could have been marking a key passage and by removing that little slip to scan it I've made an ass of myself.  However, I do know that Tom and Carol don't have a computer at home and they go to the public library to check their email.  So he looked up the NW tennis schedule on the internet and took the newspaper clipping along for the URL or email addy.  Which means he took a book he owned to the lending library.  I thought I was the only person who did that.

Here's where things get weird.  I also found these in the book:

Those are three different cheese labels.  If there's a good reason to stick three cheese labels into a book mainly about what a jerk King John was, I don't know it.  Internet cheese research, maybe?  But I do know this: I am now really, really hungry for some apple-smoked cheddar.


  1. LOL - good stuff! I also dig the goodies left behind... mostly receipts, but once in a while some handwritten note or something.

    One of my favorite "goodies" is a receipt in book 6 (IIRC) of the Elric saga (Stormbringer). The receipt is *mine*! From back in '83, I think. The thing I really like is that it is from a now-defunct bookstore chain that was a favorite stop in a mall that is now a barren wasteland of empty buildings and parking lots.

    It's sad to see things like that from that era in such a state, but the receipt-as-bookmark is my little memory of the store I LOVED to pop a squat in, back in the day.

  2. I have a copy of MSH Secret Wars I bought at HPB which is full of penciled noted. I also got a BBQ cookbook at a garage sale which contained hundreds of additional recipes clipped from newspapers.

  3. Found a 1938 $2 dollar bill in an old book once, likely either a book mark or someone didn't trust the bank!