I was reading one of my new library books recently, Hunger: An Unnatural History, and came across a checkout receipt from another patron. That person checkout the book on September 17, 2007 from the Sequoya Branch Library at 3:44 p.m. They also checked out The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science. I wonder what kind of person would check out both of those books at the same time?
I’ve always loved finding things left in books — I like the tangible evidence that another person has picked up this book, read it, and experienced the same words and stories that I’m experiencing now. I’ve always loved the way books can connect people across time and place, and finding evidence like a library receipt just makes that feel more real.
I’m a big fan of PostSecret — an online community where people mail secrets on the backs of postcards that are then shared online and in books. It’s become common for people to leave their own secrets in the pages of PostSecret books at bookstores and libraries, sharing real secrets with another person who also decided to pick up that book. I’ve never found a postcard in a book, but I think that would be cool.
I’m almost tempted to start leaving notes or quotes or fortunes in the pages of the library books I read. I wonder if the person finding the note would be as fascinated as me, or if they’d just find it a little weird.
What’s the most interesting or oddest thing you’ve ever found left in a book? What things have you left in books for other people to find?