Thursday, May 6, 2010

notes found in books

Another reason I like secondhand books is turning well-worn pages knowing that someone else has read the book before me. Maybe a lot of someones.

I remember coming across a copy of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree in a used bookstore on Santa Monica Boulevard a few years ago. Although I already have it (of course), for some reason I flipped all the way to the end of the book.

Just below the final lines:

"I don't need very much now," said the boy,
"just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired."
"Well, said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could,
"well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting.
Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest."
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.

a man had written in ink, "I mean it. I really do." Which I just loved. And it made me sad, because I wondered about the man and his love, and how this book with its hidden message had ended up in a public space. But maybe they lived a long and happy life together, and meant for the book to go on and make someone else happy. I hope so, anyway.

Here are two more notes I found recently in books, this time because I unearthed them in books I already had. One of the nice things about our new apartment is that I could take more children's books out of storage. I used to have a whole room full of them, and had to edit it down to just one bookcase of favorites in our old place. But now I get to have three, and I've been happily visiting with old friends, even though I have new library books sitting reproachfully on my beside table.

Reading these has been so fun. Jennifer must have kept this note from her friend for a long time tucked away in her Trixie Belden book, since it stayed there, presumably, for more than 30 years.


  1. Oh WOW! What treasures. I loved that last sweet little note.

  2. I hope Jennifer stayed in touch with makes me a little sad to think I'll never really know. But it's a really great snapshot of how keenly you can feel sweetness and friendship and loss during childhood.


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