For years I have been looking to be my hands on some poetry by Dylan Thomas. My luck finally lead me to find a copy of The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas. Aside from a few poems, namely Don’t Go Gentle Into That Good Night, I haven’t read much Thomas.
My want to see what he is all about is simple, and a bit foolish. Some one sharing (but not named after on purpose) the great Bob Dylan (’s birth name) should get to know what Bob Dylan was inspired by. He did of course use the name Dylan because of Dylan Thomas. Why not see what’s so great about a poet that inspires a famous name change?
Aside from finding this copy of the book, I found a short list of the previous owner’s possible favorite poems. There are three poems listed on the back of either a check out or catelog or some other card used in the Memorial Library University of Wisconsin, in Madison, Wisconsin.
I’m not sure what’s more strange; the card from a discarded library book or a list of only three poems. Granted one is Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. But one would think that while reading a collected edition of a poet’s work, there would be more than three that would catch the readers attention, even if this were for school research or something along those lines.
No matter what the cause, the poems (and page numbers) are:
128 Do Not (Go Gentle Into That Good Night)
10 (The) Force (that through the green fuse drives the flower)
112 (A) Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, or a Child in London
-parentheses to finish word missing in the list
In the table of the contents there is one more poem marked, as well as the three from the card. That one is And death shall have no dominion, found on page 77.
Seeing the, even though few, poems a previous owner choice to highlight enhances the enjoyment of a book at times. It allows for the pondering of why they were chosen and leads to attempting to figure out if they will inspire in my reading the same fancy.
I’ve recently gotten back into the addicting (and seemingly never-ending) activity of clicking the stumble button on my stumbleupon account. Before my recent rediscovery of the site, I would spend my time clicking stumble more often than finding a random page that caught my interest. Now that I narrowed down my interests to what I really would take time looking at, I’ve been finding some interesting articles and sites. http://www.forgottenbookmarks.com/ is such a site. Forgotten Bookmarks seems for the most part almost a twin of my blog here. That makes me happy that I’m not the only one seeking more than the words inside of books.
So take some time and browse the site. You might enjoy it as much as I have.
For my post today, which I hope will be the start of getting back in the swing of things, is on a note/bookmark found in my recently bought copy of Life Expectancy by one of my new favorite authors, Dean Koontz. First I’d like to give a little personal back story to the weekend that just went by.
This past weekend marked a year of being with my girlfriend. It was such a great weekend, especially considering the last time she visited Hurricane Irene came through and messed up the county.
The great thing about the weekend was that it coincided with a town wide garage sale day in a neighboring town of Cobleskill. This is the same town in which my local bookstore is in, and because of the special events of the day it too was having a sale of it’s own. “Fill up a bag or box and give us what you feel it’s worth.” On the sidewalk outside the store were tables of books that were calling our names. While we filled the box up, more and more books were continuously being brought out. I wish I had much more money and all day to spend there. I’m sure I’d have gotten even more books than I did. In the end we only came away with ONE box, that was mostly due to my girlfriend advising me not to spend all my money in one place. This came in handy in the near future.
Next we went across the street to the library because they were having a sale. My girlfriend picked up a few books for her grandma and we were on our way around town for even more sales. Sale after sale have something for us to by. Mostly we were able to get random things to furnish her new apartment with, which was also a goal for the day.
At one notable sale the price for books was five for a dollar. I was very happy when I came away with three collections of Lovecraft inspired stories, which also included some of his stories as well. This is the first time I’ve found anything with his work in print. Needless to say, we bought a few dollars worth of books there.
At one of the last sales of the day, the woman running it told us to fill up a bag and give her a dollar for it. After weeding through boxes of mainly selfhelp and other uninteresting books we came out with a bag bursting with what I hope will be interesting reads.
The next day we went to the arboretum where a large plant/bake/book sale was being held. Basically the forty minute drive left us with yet another box full of books. In total, I gained forty-six books in two days. My collection started at 1,009. By Sunday night it was at 1,055.
Back to Life Expectancy. At the last sale of the weekend, at the arboretum, I purchased this Dean Koontz novel, along with a few others to fill up my collection. While looking through the books from the weekend to see if anything interesting was in them, I stumbled upon a piece of folded paper. It looked like any piece of paper folded for use as a bookmark. I almost thought nothing of it.
When I realized that I should unfold it just to see if something was on it, to my surprise there was something written on it. The message inside gave me a weird feeling about it’s origin.
I am a good person and
I deserve a happy life!”
What was the reason for Amy to have written this, and did she intend it to just stay in a book? The book has a man’s name on the inside cover showing ownership. It could have been previously owned by him before Amy got it, like many of my books are. But it could also have been Amy’s first then the man’s. Why would he keep this memento in the book? He could just be like me and like to keep the things from inside the pages of books or just never have noticed it.
Onto what the message says, about Amy. This is a simple, yet revealing sentence. More or a statement than anything else. “I am a good person and I deserve a happy life!” It sounds like words from a self-help book or a mantra from a support group. Is Amy a troubled woman? Is she just a teenager or child who was feeling down for many of the reasons young boys and girls are? I’ll never know the true answer, but I hope whatever Amy’s doing now and wherever she is, that she has that happy life now and that she’s still a good person.
I bought my copy of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Other Stories by Washington Irving a few years ago after realizing that in all the years that I’ve heard of the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, that I have never read the actual story. It seems to me that most of the stories I, and very likely most of today’s youth, know a lot of classic stories/ novels even though I haven’t read many of them. I bought the book to fix that issue. I have bought many books to remedy this issue. Some I have read, many I still need to get to. One day, maybe after I finish the book I’m almost finished with now, I’ll read the story. It is almost that time of year for this story to be talked about anyway.
Aside from just getting knowledge of what the story is like, I gained more knowledge that, to me, is even more interesting. For years I have traveled down from Upstate New York to The City. Along the way on the other side of the Tappan Zee Bridge is an exit sign for Tarrytown and the surrounding area. I’ve always thought to myself “That’s so cool, it’s a real place. I want to go there someday.” What I now know from the purchase of this book is that Sleep Hollow was once (up until 1996) North Tarrytown. The book came with a newspaper clipping telling of the name change from North Tarrytown to the once fictional historical name Sleepyhollow. It’s another example of how buying a second hand book can teach you more that the book itself has to tell. history is within every book whether the information was intended to be told by the author, or by the book’s history.
It’s been quiet awhile since I’ve written up a post. Now that summer is coming to a close and the work cleaning up after the recent hurricane is finishing, I can start spending just a bit more time in front of a computer (and hopefully in front of a book reading.)
The item I have to post today seems very fitting for events of earlier in the day. My copy of The Take of Genji, written by Murasaki Shikibu, was given to me more than a few years ago by my cousin. I think it was one that either she or her brother read for a class in college and didn’t need anymore. She told me it was a good book and thought I’d like it. Since then I still haven’t sat down to read it. Being the proud owner of (finally) over one thousand books can do that
Back when this book was given to me, I think my collection was housed on a sole bookshelf. Yet, my cousin wished to help me make my just starting book collection grow. And she was looking out for what I was reading, since we’re the two readers in the family. This particular cousin is (in my family) my closest friend, and for labeling my only sister. Technically she’s my god-sister, so that might make some sense.
There’s not much about the particular item that came from this book that’s of note. Since this blog calls for something in the book to link a story to it, I guess I’ll give a brief description of the bookmark that was left in the book.
The bookmark is from Shakespeare & Co. The store is one of the ones in the New York City area. Obviously the book was most likely purchased there. Other than that, there’s not much to obverse.
I guess I should get around to reading this book one of these days. My cousin hasn’t steered me to a book I haven’t liked yet. We’ll just have to see if that changes.
In my copy of Ben Hur there is an inscription similar to that which I posted from The Pastures of Heaven. Like from the Steinbeck book, this inscription bears the full, formal names of both the recipient of the book and the name of who gave the book.
“Mrs. Mary Heniker
Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Parshall
July 1st, 1903”
The only difference is it’s not a Christmas gift. It could possibly have been for Mr.s Heniker’s birthday or some other occasion. The penmanship of this inscription, as well as the Steinbeck one, shows how much writing meant in society years earlier. Today it’s taken a back seat to being able to type on a keyboard.
If there’s nothing else to take away from this, it’s that the modern written word really isn’t written anymore. It’s become an unimportant element to the writing process on whatever level of written communication you’d like to focus.
When you make an appointment for the dentist, they normally give you a card to remind you the time and date of said appointment. Here is such a card.
On Thursday July 6th back in 1995 a woman named Shannon had an appointment at 11:00 in Middleburgh, NY. I hope that she didn’t miss the appointment because she was too caught up in The Art of Love.
I found this appointment card in the pages of that book. It’s a funny little piece of history to find in a book. It’s such and unimportant piece of history even in the life of Shannon, but at the same thing let’s make an estimation as to why she went to the dentist.
Shannon went to the dentist on this sunny July day back in 1995 in order to get her teeth cleaned and whitened. She has a date later that night with her future husband and wanted to impress him. In the waiting room, Shannon sat and read The Art of Love by Ovid, in hopes of gaining insight into what he thought on the subject.
That’s just a little fun you can have with books and what are between the pages. Not everything found is interesting but a twist can always be created.
My copy of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven contains a short inscription making it seem like the book was once a gift.
“Mrs. John Campbell
Dec. 25 - 1946
from Mrs. J Anderson”
There isn’t much to discuss about this inscription. I felt like using this as a follow up to yesterday’s post because it’s connection that they were both once Christmas gifts, forty-two years apart.
Another small item to note is that very few inscriptions I’ve found so far have included both names of people giving and receiving the book. Normally it’s either one or the other, or nicknames. There also isn’t a personal message. This inscription is very formal in that full names and titles are listed. It seems to be more of a record of where the book came from and when, rather than why and if there was a reason, aside from it being a gift. It’s an intriguing inscription to think about. It’s an older one for my collection, so possibly things were just done differently years ago.
I’ve decided to take a step away from the direction I was taking these posts. At a later date I’m sure I’ll start up a few about exactly where the book in question came from. A little bit of mystery and solving it is fun to do.
The book that is the subject of this post is one of my most recent additions to my book collection. On Sunday, I was finally able to get my 9 year old cousin back to my local bookstore. I usually bring him and his sister in there at least once a summer when they visit. In the past they have found some books, usually Goosebumps books. In the last few years though finding books for them to read has been harder. My younger cousin reads, but he’s very picky. After having finished the Percy Jackson series and other by the same author, I felt that I could probably find another series for him to become interested in. I’m still on that quest.
His sister’s another story. I’ve seen her, even 4 years ago (she’s 12 now,) pick up a 100 page or so book and finish it on a two hour car ride. She’d go through books quicker than we could find ones for her to read. Now though, it’s hard to get her off the computer or awake before the sun goes down in order to have her pick a book up. At least there’s still hope in her brother.
Taking a step away from that tangent, I’ll get back to where this post was going earlier. We went to the bookstore on Sunday; my 9 year old cousin, his mother, and I. After probably around an hour of looking over books and trying to find books for my cousin and convincing him he’s probably end up liking what I found, all three of us had found I think two books a piece, which is a good outing.
After my cousin paid for our books and started walking out, I spotted the spine of a book near the register. It said “Annie Dillard Teaching A Stone To Talk“ on it. So I picked it up took a quick look at the back cover then the price. On the inside page was the price where it normally is, as well as the message from Marti. I didn’t read the full message until I got in the car. I just under first impulse bought the book because of it’s author, with a small influence from the inscription.
This book was a Christmas present to “my special friend” back in 1988. That was almost twenty-three years ago. December 25th of 1988 also happens to have been my first Christmas, not that I remember that far back when I was a day under two months old.
“To my special friend
who I would love to
teach how to talk-
Going with my just mentioning that Christmas of 1988 was my first birthday, the message shows some coincidence to that fact. Though the choice of book makes me believe this is far from true, this could have been a present to a baby. Marti would like to teach the recipient of this book to talk. If we take into consideration that “with affection” may be the rest of the sentence and not part of the salutations of the message, then the recipient may be older and just not an affectionate talker.
It would be very interesting, and somewhat creepy, if this was a book to a child born around this time for their first birthday. I know that this at least wasn’t my book at anytime in my life, but people can dream.
The Company Of Dogs is a collection of stories authors have written involving dogs. That is the main reason I bought this book. I love dogs, I want a dog sometime in the near future, and I am not opposed to reading a book filled with dog stories. Sadly I have not gotten around to reading this book, though I think that I did skim a story or two in the first few days of possessing this book.
Aside from the reward of having a book dedicated to dogs, this books came with a few clues as to where it’s from. The one clue is a receipt from the store where the book was sold. The second is an article from the New York Times Book Review. The second item is more for fun than to accompany the theme of the latest posts.
When I first saw this receipt, I thought that I was going to have a very easy time to find out where the book was bought. In part I was right. The book was sold a Chapters: The Book Source. This was obviously a bookstore. Disappointingly, that is all the clues I had. Upon researching this as the name of a book store, I came up with what I thought was the store. There is a large chain book store called Chapters throughout Canada. Then I found a Chapters company in Ireland. Thirdly, there is also a Chapters bookstore in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. To confuse this search even more, after thinking that it was most likely from the Canadian chain, out of a want for this to have come from Canada, I looked more closely at the date of the purchase; July 23, 1994. If I’m understanding correctly, the Canadian company didn’t form into Chapters until 1995. The Irish company has been around since 1983 though out of my choices I feel safer thinking this was an American purchase, being accompanied with a copy of a New York Times article as well as the prices on the book for only USA and Canada.
Lastly the sale price is only ten dollars while the list price of the book is twenty. Half price on a book at a chain store is a great find; a rare find. Also the second item on the receipt was a Wild Birds calender for 1995. This price, by adding the list/sell price differences comes roughly to $1.42 savings on the calender. That brings the list price of that item up to $12.95. That is a reasonable price for a calender that early in the year. That means the book was discounted by fifty percent, and add to the fact that this was more than likely not a chain store. From my three choices of store, I sadly have to acknowledge that an overwhelming amount of evidence points toward the book being sold in Massachusetts.
As for the included photocopy from the newspaper, it’s an article titled “What Fiction Needs: More Readers, More Dogs.” This book more likely than not was once owned by a grand lover of dogs. I’m sure the former owner is glad it went into the hands of another dog lover. I hope it can give me an even bigger appreciation for these animals than I already have.