25 June 2016 Susannah

Things inside books

rose petals on book

Do you leave things inside books and forget about them? Or do you press flowers and leaves between the pages, so that many years later you will open that book and a memory will come flooding back?

There are several interesting sites on the web about strange objects left in books, and some book shops have even created displays of the odd objects found in books. Bookmarks are the most commonly forgotten thing, often those produced by the shop where the book was purchased. I have one friend who always leaves the receipt inside, so she can see years later how extravagant she was, or wasn’t. I envy the bookseller who opened a volume to have a signed letter by C.S. Lewis come tumbling out. Personal letters are often used as temporary bookmarks and then forgotten, so are airlines tickets, cinema stubs, grocery lists, photos and recipes. More peculiar items discovered between the pages include locks of hair, fabric samples (a shade of grey for that dreadful Fifty Shades of Grey book would be appropriate), and keys. Monopoly money and real money drop out quite often, but for me the two strangest objects I’ve heard of are a rasher of bacon and a smallpox sample left inside books.

Each item evokes a history – who was taking that flight? Which person could be so absentminded and smell-insensitive as to leave raw bacon in a volume? Who features in the photo, and did the things on the grocery list ever get bought? There is a mystery about such items, unless you placed them there yourself, and perhaps even then it can be hard to remember how the item came to be there. So next time you pick up something rather odd to use as a bookmark, think carefully about who might one day find it still there.

I’d love to hear what you’ve found forgotten inside a book.


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Featured image credit- Rose petals on a book. from https://pixabay.com/en/dried-rose-rose-petals-photo-album-1224851/
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Comments (6)

  1. Heather

    A friend of mine bought a second hand book at a school fete, and inside the book was a boarding pass of another friend of ours!

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Wow, that’s quite a coincidence! I hope the friend was going somewhere nice with that boarding pass, and I hope she had a good book to read on the plane.

  2. My mum would use a book that she was reading From our bookcases as a piggy bank and pop spare banknotes in between the pages. But she could never remember which bookwhen we needed a quick injection of cashs. So then we would be furiously leafing through books from the bookcase. After finding what we needed we would stop but of course there was always more to be found the next time round.
    It always led to discussing whether that particular book had been a good read etc. it was fun.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      A literary treasure hunt! That sounds like fun, and a good way to encourage children to get books off the shelf and hopefully be intrigued by them. Thanks for sharing that story.

  3. Brian Doyle

    The commonest and most appalling items found between the pages of library books are morsels of food and hot beverage stains, the strangest thing I’ve ever seen used as a bookmark was an old bra strap, interesting recycling I thought.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Good grief! An old bra strap. I hate to even think how that got left in the pages of a book. Thanks for sharing such a weird book deposit.

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