The Mysteries Tucked Inside Your Library Book

9 Feb

I love when I find little surprises in the books I check out at the public library.

Sometimes I find receipts or business cards or grocery lists (I really love the grocery lists). Some readers will underline or star passages, or they’ll jot notes in the margin. These little scribbles always give me something to think about, sometimes spurring a virtual argument with some invisible library patron. “Are you kidding me? No reasonable person would consider these characters middle class! I’m sorry, fellow reader, you and this author need a dose of the real world!”

A few years ago, a New York Times reporter hid $100 bills around the state and challenged New Jerseyans to a scavenger hunt. One of those bills was found in our local public library.

That’s a treasure. And a good story.

Now and again, I discover a real treasure myself. Sadly, I’ve yet to find cash; though that would be nice. No, sometimes I find something better: scribbled notes.

Wild extra notes 1

Literary treasure hunt.

Which is what happened when I opened my borrowed copy of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.

Three small pieces of note paper tumbled out from behind the book jacket. Grocery lists? Notes on the book? Philosophical musings?

Of course, these could also be intensely private, so perhaps it’s morally wrong to peer into the innermost thoughts of a previous reader.


These turned out to be wickedly good. Not a grocery list, and not a rumination on the book. Rather, I like to believe they’re by a budding author, free-associating ideas for a new story.

Either that or one of our local comedians has been testing out joke ideas for an appearance in Atlantic City.

So, are you a comedian?

So, are you a comedian?


2 Responses to “The Mysteries Tucked Inside Your Library Book”

  1. Annina February 9, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    I like that! I wish I would find more things between library books, but I think many of the things probably get noticed and removed by librarians as they put the books back on the shelves. Most notes I find are between and in the margins of course books (quite logically). I try to remember to check that I haven’t left anything between a book when I return them, because I wouldn’t want to lose a nice bookmark.

  2. Diane Thieke February 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Oh, I’d really hate to lose a bookmark. In the novel I’m writing, the main character uses $100 bills – and over time, lesser amounts – as bookmarks. But then, when she starts out, she could afford to lose them.

    Thanks for reading!

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