Thursday Thoughts: Used Books!

Thursday! I love Thursdays. Today, I was studying for my Anthropology class and I was sending up some gracious vibes to the previous owner of my textbook because she was one heck of a note-taker. And she left post-it notes with comments next to all of the most important parts. Since I started using this book, I’ve looked at her notes and the previous owner is really becoming a part of my studying process. She’s like my study buddy. She’s like a character in a book. Just based on her handwriting, her highlighting and her endless post-it notes, I’ve created a picture of her in my mind, like I would with any other character in a book.

I do this every time I pick up a new used book. I try to find the book with the most handwriting in the margins. I think it’s so cool to read a copy of a book that someone’s already read. Someone else has already been on a journey with that book and now it’s your turn. I think that’s pretty cool. And there’s nothing better than if they’ve left comments and notes for you. It’s like, you get to read this new story, but then you also get to read this other new story through some unknown character’s point of view. They go with you on your own little journey of reading.

I like the idea that a used book has this long history. There were many readers before you, and there will hopefully be many after you. You are just a stop in the book’s passage through life, in its history. That book is bigger than you and is smarter than you and is more important than you. Maybe that doesn’t make sense, but to me, it does. And it’s calming to know that you are just a person, but this book is big and permanent and will outlive you and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s a relief to realize that and accept it.

Maybe this post ended up being less about used books and more about being a person. Or maybe I just read approximately 26 trillion newspapers for my journalism class and am currently delirious. Probably the latter.


3 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts: Used Books!

  1. Marilyn Whitneyu says:

    I love this entry. So true. Books outlive us and their words fill the minds of hundred, possibly thousands of individuals. What an interesting way to look at a used book, that someone might consider as “trash”. You have great insight!

  2. Briana says:

    The trick is to make sure that the person made notes that are actually enlightening. And that they did so in a way that you can still read the text! But I agree that it’s always interesting to see what a book made other people think.

    • Refuting the Intolerably Stupid says:

      Exactly! I really don’t like when get a book that’s so scratched up with nonsense that I can’t even read the words. That’s just the worst!

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