Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Things You Find in Books...

Have you ever bought an old book and found something interesting inside it between the pages?

I ask because the Chairman at our writers' club read out some pages of writing that she found in an old book that she recently bought. The woman being written about was clearly the female equivalent of Michael Crawford's character Frank in 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em'.

We weren't sure if this woman existed (it covered a couple of months in 1963) or if it was a would-be writer's notes; perhaps it was just delusional ramblings, but there were numerous story ideas that could have been inspired from this hapless woman's disasters...

In the early 20thC it seemed to be more usual to find written inscriptions inside books, dated and signed. Not necessarily from the author of the book, but from the book buyer to a friend or relative.

The ones I've come across always seem to have been written in fountain pen blue ink with that beautiful elegant writing that was taught a hundred years ago.

Perhaps those people felt that book was special, it meant something to them and to the person they gave it to.

It can also be very sad too. I once found an old book- in a charity shop- with an inscription from a parent to a child, then I looked at the date the book was published and the date of the inscription and I realised it was given new. Did that child keep that book all their life and only after their death did it get boxed up and sent elsewhere, old and irrelevant in today's world?

So I think in future when I give a book as a special gift I'm going to start putting an inscription inside so the reason why I've given it to that person (and when) isn't forgotten...


  1. I like the idea of an inscription, I think it makes the book even more special to the person receiving it :-)

  2. I have a few old books with an inscription inside but never a letter or pages of script (wish I had found some!). I have used a fictional inscription in an old book in my mainstream novel that's seeking an agent at the moment!

  3. You're right Diane it does make the book even more special, especially when you know the person receiving it will appreciate it.

    Good luck with the agent search for the novel Rosemary.
    A fictional inscription in a book is a great idea- you can use it so many ways in a story.

  4. Oh Carol!

    You're such a tease - what was in the notes and what book were they found in?

  5. I don't know what the book was they were found in Baggy, but the list of the hapless Wendy's problems included appearing before the court, catching measles- almost immediately after release- and other disasters that I can't recall now...


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