I was well into my thirties before I could sufficiently suppress my upbringing, and dare to write in a book. Even now, it's almost always for practical reasons. Notes in field guides: how to distinguish similar birds, where wildflowers grow. Corrections to genealogies.
Maybe it's because it's not my habit. Maybe it has to do with being forbidden, or that it's hidden away beneath the covers. But I get a secret thrill every time I find someone else's handwriting in a book. All kinds of handwriting.
Many Things Have Happened Since He Died and Here Are the Highlights
This wasn't an early printing. Someone -- I picture a tightfisted typesetter grumbling about the price of ink -- chopped the legs out from under the title of this lovely book.
What a fun surprise though, to find an autographed library book. I wonder about 14-year-ago Elizabeth Dewberry (Vaughn at that time), and what brought her to sign it.
Did I miss her reading at Springville Road, my old library? She grew up in Birmingham. Was she bored enough on a trip home to sneak between the stacks and practice guerilla signings? Maybe she just donated the copy.
And why does it say "teen readers"? It wasn't in the Young Adult section, and it certainly didn't strike me as a teen book.
Perfectly acceptable: GIFT DEDICATIONS
I'm not Jewish, but I enjoy reading about religions, so I was bound to gravitate towards this book.
But when I opened it up and found it already dedicated, to me, it sealed the deal.
I'm filled with questions about this other Karen. How did her book travel from South Africa to a thrift store in Boaz? She would have been almost exactly five years younger than me -- surely she's not dead. (So young!)
But why, after bringing it all that way, would she give up this book? Did she lose her religion? After moving to Alabama, was she overrun by Southern Baptists? Did she tire of musty old pages from her young adulthood? Or did she just lose it in a move?
Audacity: TALKING BACK
The Day I Became an Autodidact
I read updates on this author all the time. She's Kendall Hailey, who's married to Danny Miller, the blogger behind Jew Eat Yet. Talk about your fated relationships... before they ever met, her book fell on his head! I bought my copy from Ebay, since it's out of print now.
The previous owner liked jotting comments in the margins.
Rather smarty-pants comments, most of the time.
But he ran out of steam after my favorite one:
I'm assuming it was at this point that the scribbler decided he was funny enough to write his own book. Wonder what it's called?