Lovely post about other people’s books. I too have a massive fascination with the question of a book’s life, and have often left books on trains in the hopes that a story I’ve loved will travel on to other people and bring them joy. It’s funny that as a society we are starting to appreciate previously loved things so much more, but we still have definite preferences in this adopted recycling ethos. I wouldn’t pick up a hat on a train and say ‘Ooh lovely, I’ll wear this. I wonder who wore it before me’. But a book, a BOOK. That’s…well, that’s another story.
Where has it been? Whose tears has it soaked up? It’s a glorious mystery wrapped up in the book’s own story off the pages. I ask you to write a note on the inside front cover of the next book you read and leave it in a public place. Answer the questions I’d love to know before I’ve even asked them. Buy a book from a charity shop and then share what you loved about it on the back cover (don’t spoil the story but putting it in the front!) and maybe the next person to find it will be moved to do the same.
Books are not delicate ornaments to be protected. They are things to be chewed on by babies, things to be thrown at infuriating lovers, and dropped in busy places to be rescued by the next literary adventurer. So break the rules and do what your mother told you to never do; write in a book and make someone’s day.
Go forth, and read.