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Topic: What is the weirdest thing you have ever found in a book?

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Subject: What is the weirdest thing you have ever found in a book?
Date Posted: 2/6/2010 2:01 AM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 134
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I buy all my books second hand and usually at the Goodwill; sometimes people leave the oddest things inside them.  I am reading my "15 Minutes of Fame" book which looked to be normal.  Then one day, as I was reading, a money order for $38.00 came floating out.  Then today, an old photograph fell out!  So I looked for anything else that might have been hidden in the pages, but found nothing.  Now I feel obligated to find the book's owner to return the money and her picture.  There's just one problem though, the check is from a bank in Ohio from last May, and I found the book a few months ago in Phoenix.  So what do I do?

It also makes me nervous when people leave their bookmarks in books when they give them away.   I always wonder if they wanted to give the bookmark away, or if they got tired of the book and tossed it without taking the bookmark.  And if that was the case, does the bookmark indicate where where they lost interest with the book and is it really worth reading?

Am I over-thinking this too much?



Last Edited on: 2/6/10 2:30 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/6/2010 7:47 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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There's just one problem though, the check is from a bank in Ohio from last May, and I found the book a few months ago in Phoenix.  So what do I do?

Is there an expiration date? With bank checks, you generally have 90 days to cash them before they expire. I would shred it and any other documents with someone's personal information.

My most common find is airline and train ticket stubs, which is really stupid in this day and age as it includes enough personal information to find the rest of what an ID theif needs.

Date Posted: 2/6/2010 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I was collecting Nancy Drew books for my niece I ordered several,  The Mystery Of The Tolling Bell came and was the one my mother read to us when I was a girl. It had my sisters name( Em's Mom) written on the fly leaf.  It was so cool and she still has it the other she donated a few years ago not wanting to drag them to Seattle with her.

Date Posted: 2/6/2010 9:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,299
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Letty, that is amazing! What are the odds of that happening!!! Obviously, those books were never meant to leave your family.

Date Posted: 2/6/2010 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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It was truly one of those chills up your spine moments to be sure.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 9:38 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
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Letty, I love that story!

Of course, as a librarian, you find all kinds of things in books as well, but we have a better chance at reuniting the items with their owners. 

Once, a young girl returned a book.  I was scanning it in when a photo fell out...a photo of my cousin!  I called the girl back, and said, "Is this yours??" She said, "That's my cousin!" at the same time I said it! LOL..

Turns out, I was a cousin on the dad's side, and she was on the mom's side...but a strange coincidence!

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 9:45 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Wow, Letty -- that is incredible!

Yesterday when my husband and I were huddled together on the couch reading and trying to stay warm despite no power (i.e., no heat), I heard a "nooo waaayyy" from my husband. That signalled that he was going to interrupt my reading by reciting a passage from his book -- which usually annoys the heck out of me. But this time I didn't mind. The mystery/thriller he was reading had the main character looking through the bad guy's library which so happened to include a textbook written by my husband's father!

ETA: Wow, Vicky -- that's a great story, too!



Last Edited on: 2/7/10 9:46 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/7/2010 10:06 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Vicki, I had a similar thing happen in Jackson WY. at a hotel there, I met my cousin's, cousin.

Deb. that's a great story too.  I hope you have power back!  How positively medieval it feels without power.  They have been discussing the storm on Sharon Penman's Facebook all weekend imagining what such a storm would have been like for people in past centuries.  Elizabeth Chadwick even posted about it. 

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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I've found a train ticket for the inner city train in .....Prague! I thought that was very cool....along with it was a receipt for a skirt and blouse from a Gap in Chicago, LOL

Date Posted: 2/8/2010 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,458
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What wonderful stories and finds.  Don't think I've ever encountered anything that cool in any of my books!

Date Posted: 2/8/2010 9:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Someone who was cleaning out her attic posted four Elizabeth Chadwicks to me a few weeks ago.  When I received the books, one of them had a nice professional picture of an older woman receiving a diploma.  It was one of those commemoritive pictures that had the name of the college and the date (1987) printed on the bottom of it.  The woman was definitely older than a "traditional" student, so I figured it must have been a significant event in her life.  The books looked like they had only been read once, so I PM'ed the person who sent them to me to see if the picture belonged to her.  Turns out it was her mother who had gone back to college, and she was very happy for me to mail the picture back to her.  I love happy endings!

Date Posted: 2/8/2010 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Wow, Christa -- I don't know who was luckier -- you for getting four Chadwick books or the sender for getting her photo back! I too love happy endings - though, in this case, you deserve credit for making it a happy ending.

Date Posted: 2/9/2010 6:51 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Yes, I was very excited!  I happened to be sitting at my computer when the first one was posted.  So I PM'ed her and asked if she had any more.  She said she was sitting there posting books that had been in her attic and had two more in the pile.  So she posted those to me.  After she got the picture back, she found one more and posted that one to me as well.  I hope to start reading them soon and will post them back into the system when I finish them.

Date Posted: 2/9/2010 8:45 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Christa -- Me first! Me first!

Date Posted: 2/9/2010 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,299
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I want to know how many books are in your TBR pile, Deb! LOL

Date Posted: 2/9/2010 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Waaaayyyyyy too many, Jeanne... (some of which you're responsible for, Missy!)

Date Posted: 2/14/2010 12:59 AM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 134
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Coleen wrote: I've found a train ticket for the inner city train in .....Prague! That is cool.Perhaps I should have asked what the coolest thing is that you have found in a book.

There was another time I found a boarding pass stubb from Dallas to Phoenix. But the interesting thing was the name - Carol Townsende, whichsounded familiar to me. I remembered that my husband had an aunt named Carol Ann Townsende, but he never knew her because his dad died when he was only 4 and the familes never kept in touch after his death. I only knew about her because my mother-in-law gave me everything that belonged tothe dad after she was remarried in 1999, and I readhis obituary. So I asked my mother-in-law what ever happed to the aunt but she didn't know, or seem to care. But shedid thinkthey had moved to Texas.

Spooky eh? I still wonder if it was her book.

Date Posted: 2/15/2010 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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The weirdest thingI've found in a book is: A degarrotype of a man holding a gun. I'm not really sure who would use one of these as a bookmark. I've also found $1.00 bills and four leaf clovers (there were 5 clovers in one book!).

Date Posted: 2/16/2010 11:48 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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My coolest thing: After my maternal grandmother died (step-grandmother, actually) my grandpa cleaned out a lot of things in an auction, at which I picked up a box of books that included a very beautiful, very old, and sadlywater-damaged copy of Pilgrim's Progress. In its pageswas a receipt for 3- years subscription to Farmer's Almanac dated in the early 1930s, in my Great-Grandmother's name. It must have beeneither mygreat-grandmother's book or my grandmother's as a teenager, taken with her when she married mygrandfather, and after she died young (my mother was 5) it stayed with my grandfather and his new wife and combined family for another 50 years.

Date Posted: 2/16/2010 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Sharla - that's awesome!

Date Posted: 3/10/2010 11:59 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 134
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OK, found something else.

I picked up a book called The Falconer by Elaine Clark McCarthy because I have an interest in Falconry and because the book just looks cool. Got it home and flipped to the opening pages and found an obituary that had been carefully cut out of a newspaper for Earl F. Most. The newspaper is from Kenosha, MI (I live in Phoenix, AZ) so the book has done some travelling.

It made me sad that someone had lost this momento of Mr. Most, because I instantly had flashbacks of when my dad died 2 years ago. I too had taken the care to collect his obituary out of the paper, only to make it home to Arizona and realize I had accidentaly thrown it in the trash. I never did get another copy, hopefully the previous owner of the book had.

Love you dad, miss you much.

Date Posted: 7/14/2010 2:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
Posts: 772
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I was browsing in the old Dewey section of the stacks today (I work at Dartmouth College) and came across this in an 1864 edition of "The Coward" by Henry Morford. The book was given to the library from Dartmouth's "Social Friends Library" in 1906 (according to the bookplate), but this graffiti could be contemporary with the Civil War. Looks like a trio of students wanted to smack each other around for their reading tastes. LOL

"This is a book that no decent man ought to read."

"Fool. This is a book for leisure, idle moments. --Common Sense"

"A damned mean book and I was a damned fool for reading it and so are you. If you want to learn how to quarrel just read this for there is a "jaw" on every page. Damned old thing. --L.K. Leeds"

Not sure if the word is "jaw," but I think I got the rest of it. I've scanned and uploaded it here if you want to see the snarky original.

I also found something neat about the Social Friends library. Who knew lending policies were ever so strict?? And riots when the students decided to move their leisure reading out of a college building???

Date Posted: 7/14/2010 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Sounds interesting, Karla. It could just be me, but I get a blank screen when I follow the link for the snarky original.

Date Posted: 7/14/2010 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I could see it Genie.

Date Posted: 7/15/2010 7:18 AM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
Posts: 772
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Sheesh, it won't even let ME see it now! And it can't be a cookie problem.

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