Little Magical Things Found in Books

As a quick follow up on my post last year about the second lives of books, I thought I might have a quick chat about the coolest stuff to be found in books. I stumbled across this website the other day and thought it was the coolest idea- a used bookshop scanning the stuff they find in books and blogging about it!

Once, I found a $50 note stuffed into my copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. That was pretty flipping sweet, and I have no idea whatsoever about how it got there. I don’t think I put it in there anyway. I just opened the book one day and BAM, $50. I do believe I turned around and spent that baby on more books!

Another awesome find was when I opened up a really old book about the battle of the Somme that once belonged to my great, great uncle. Inside, I found incredibly detailed notes about troop positions, tunnels, events of the battle and other really fantastic details. I’ve scanned them all so they won’t be lost forever. You can imagine my excitement when I came across that!

I also love coming across notes in books, whether it’s my own, in a second hand book or in a library book. I think I like them especially from the library, because I have an image in my mind of ending up with some magical formula for excellence, a la The Half Blood Prince. It hasn’t happened quite like that yet, but I’ve found some really decent points to use in essays before!

I even love coming across names and messages written in the front of books! I’ve got into the habit of writing my name and the year I bought the book into the front of every book I buy.

If I come across something stuck in a book that I’ve been considering in a used bookshop, if it’s a really cool object it might sway me to purchase it. I feel like the object belongs with the book for all eternity- to remove it is to remove some of the magic. It seems funny to say that about a bunch of paper and cardboard, but I’m sure all the bookish folk understand!

What’s your feeling on this? Tell me what’s the coolest stuff you’ve found in a book!

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16 thoughts on “Little Magical Things Found in Books

  1. How cool is it that you wrote about this?! Love it. Not that I found much, some silly notes, a cheat sheet and postcards, but I never understood why I shouldn’t write notes on margins, seeing as it had always seemed to me like a secret social network for readers. Hate rude comments though – those people probably become literary critics when they grow up. Good post!

    • Thanks! 🙂
      Even those little things are fun to find!
      I write a lot in my books, I love to have those thoughts and memories! I hightlighted a section in the book I was reading today, it wasn’t even a university book! The paragraph was too good to lose, I wanted to remember that it had an effect on me next time!

  2. Reblogged this on ANITA'S HAVEN and commented:
    Lovely post. When I was a kid they always taught us not to write notes on book margins, probably because some people just wrote rubbish. Not that I found banknotes or treasure maps, but I did find some lovely comments in some books. They made the books even more alive somehow.

  3. I did a post about this on my blog too a couple weeks ago. A couple weeks ago I got a book from Goodwill and inside I found a post card and some pictures of the person’s cats. I like to leave little notes in library books I check out before I return them.

  4. This is precisely why I adore used books! It’s so fascinating to discover even minor things in books used by other people – it feels like every book has its own story to tell, and it lets you discover it little by little. My grandpa used to write his name on his books and also the day he purchased them, and after I got to have some of them, it was so exciting to see the journey of books acquired so many years ago 🙂

    • You can find such amazing gems! The majority of books I buy are new, but I do love me a good used book! I love finding an amazing out of print book and giving it a second life 🙂 it is a bit like communicating with the previous owner!

      • I should give it a go. I dunno, I think I more prefer the smell of new books to old ones and that’s why I buy new. My BF laughs at me when I sniff my books but they smell so good!

      • I think they both smell lovely! Older ones smell more like vanilla, while the new ones smell a bit like ink 🙂 you’re not alone, I’m a rabid book sniffer! I can’t help myself!

      • I know! It’s the best thing about being a book blogger: you find the other book sniffers!
        There’s a whole science about why new and old books smell the way they do. It’s pretty cool!

  5. Oh, I don’t know why I haven’t thought of writing my name/year of purchase in my books! It would be so cool to look back on (although it’s hard for me to imagine writing in one of my books because I’m so OCD about the condition they’re kept in!)

    • I stopped doing it for ages but recently restarted, because I realised how much I liked seeing it… And coz I was starting to forget how long I’d had books on my shelf for! It takes a bit to get over but since I annotate books for uni I’ve gotten used to the whole writing thing 🙂

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