I love used books and always make a mad dash towards the inevitable pile of discarded literature at yard sales and flea markets. Some of my favorite reads have been purchased for a quarter or haggled for a buck. As a matter of fact, I just acquired a tattered copy of The Old Man and the Sea and secretly wished (more like prayed) that this time the sharks would leave the protagonist alone and he would sail into Havana with his prized marlin intact and the hero of the day (Always root for the underdog).
The greatest part about buying used books, however, is that the best story told is not always written by the author. Sometimes, it is the readers that came before me that end up penning the finer tale.
For example, I picked up a copy of Albert Camus's The Plague, which was published in 1948. Written on the inside page, in a spider-like scrawl, was the message:
"I know the words underlined are so great and well-used. At 12:01 Saturday, there is going to be such a scream!"
The mystery writer then decided it necessary to clarify the time zone.
I tried to read the book, but kept coming back to the penciled note. I could only wonder what exactly went down that day and why did it have to happen at one minute past midnight?
Or was it noon?
There have also been several copies of books that I bought only to find, half-way through, copious amounts of dried blood staining the pages.
Was the owner before me murdered? Should I continue reading?
Worse still are the yet to be determined splotches. I can only hope that they are coffee or possibly tea, but they start to look an awfully lot like dried boogers.
"No one understands me" is written upside down on page 31 in my Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and "This book points toward good christian ideas, Sis" starts off Understanding the Bible.
I recently read that ebooks are now out-selling their print counterparts. Hopefully, some computer tech is out there working on a way to scar them with random thoughts and ideas from those that take the time to read and absorb them.