Monday, November 28, 2011
An Ode to Secondhand Books
There are certain books, like my copies of The Awakening by Kate Chopin and The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, that were obviously used for school. Scribbles, asterisks, and underlines abound in the pages of these books. I know marginalia drives some people crazy, but I love them. I feel like I'm in a classroom discussing classics I might not love but find fascinating nonetheless.
Others contain more personal messages within their pages. 'Daisy, I hope you enjoy this. It's one of my favorite classics. Love, Carl' is written on the first page of my copy of Willa Cather's My Antonia. I wondered about Daisy and Carl. Were they just friends or was there something more? Why did Daisy give away something that seemed to mean a lot to Carl? What happened to these people?
I will probably never know what happened to Daisy and Carl, or how The Awakening's previous owner fared in his or her class. The people who owned my books will always be faceless phantoms to me, and, because of that, they will never fail to fascinate me. That, for me, is the magic of secondhand books.