Book Chat #2: Musings About My Second-hand Book

Some years ago, I took a plane to my mother’s homeland. It was an amazing trip, but there is one day that I will never forget. We had gone to an artisan’s town by the sea. Quirky little cafés, lots of cats lounging about, friendly hipster-ish people. (Is that even a word?) 😉 Above all, there was a street market with stalls full of hand-made crafts— jewelry, painted scarves, little framed drawings of beautiful, everyday life. And, of course, a few second-hand book stalls that I was immediately drawn to. My mother being the local, she asked the wizened old man behind the stand if there were any good English books for me to read over the summer. He smiled and took out a couple of short, easy books. My mother and I laughed and told him that we would prefer something a little bit more complex. So he went over to the back and brought us some classics and other books. Around the World in 80 Days caught my eye. So we bought it, along with a few other books, all published by Oxford.

I loved the books. I read them over and over and over for the entirety of the summer. In my copy of Around the World in 80 Days, there was a post-it note on the first page translating some of the words. I never took it out. On the inside of the cover, there was a stamp marking it as an imported book, and some of the words in the story were underlined in pencil. The cover was a bright orange, faded only at the binding, hinting that it had been sitting on a bookshelf for a long time. I also realized that this particular copy had been published in 1982. It was as if it had been handed to me from a time machine. Who had owned this before me? Why did they buy it? Did that post-it note mean they were studying for an exam? I was glad that they hadn’t simply thrown the book away. Instead, it had ended up with me. It had left a mark on their life first, and they had marked the book— underlining and fading and noting. And now it leaves a mark on my life, and I will leave a mark on it. And who knows? Maybe it will end up with another person in the future.

I felt like a book detective, and I liked it.


7 thoughts on “Book Chat #2: Musings About My Second-hand Book

  1. Yasser says:

    Dear Yasimone,
    Thank you for sharing a cherished memory from your past!
    Isn’t it funny how we all have fond memories of random happenings at haphazard times in our lives that remain with us and leave just such a mark as has been etched in yours…?
    I read your post with much delight and reveled in the details that you observed.
    Thank you and wish you many more hipster-y inspired times in your future travels !


    1. You’re welcome! 😀 You’re right, sometimes things we never thought would affect us mark us so profoundly in the best ways… I do indeed hope I have more hipster-ish, book-ish travels! 😉


Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s