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.
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.