I have never spent much time thinking about who has read a book before I have. Every now and then I get a book from the library that is old enough that it still has the check-out card in the little pocket in the back and I love to see the dates on the card, but even that only suggests when it might have been read prior to computerization.
Last week I found a bookmark (photo above) in a book from the library, left by the prior reader. It’s not a store-bought bookmark, but a little piece of artwork that some parent (probably) grabbed when they need to mark their place. This resonates with me because I often use a folded post-it note, an old receipt or even a piece of used envelope when the need arises, although I do have massive numbers of official bookmarks. When I was working in the bookstore, publishers often sent bookmarks and I always grabbed one. If I found a bookmark when I was traveling, I always picked it up. And, of course, I make bookmarks, often as gifts, but I always make one for myself any time I do that. But you know how it goes; if you are downstairs when you get to a good stopping point, you’re not going to go upstairs just to find a bookmark!
This particular bookmark looks to belong to someone who works in a financial advice company and is the parent to a four- or five-year old. The book that I found it in was How to Fly in Ten Thousand Lessons by Barbara Kingsolver, so clearly a poetry lover and someone who prefers library books to purchased books this year. But in my fantasy world I’d love to think that the last person who picked up this book was Shirley Jackson. I just finished her book Life Among the Savages and she mentions reading several times. She had four kids and I can imagine her grabbing a scrap of kids’ scribbling when she needed to put down a book.
What was the last book you finished? Who would YOU like to have read it right before you?