Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Dreamer of Dreams

As a buyer of used books, I'm used to a little extra pathos between the front and back covers, as the books' former owners leave bookmarks, margin notes, and other examples of their former attachment to the books that lie on my shelves.

A copy of Tom Weber's "All the Heroes are Dead," which I picked up earlier this year, has an exceptional drama on the flyleaf. A pencilled note reads "May all the Springs, Summers, Winters, and Autumns bring you life -- joyfully -- tenderly -- happily. I love you, J"

The recipient's name is obscured by a bold black stamp, "DISCARD," as if from the collection of a library. How deeply held is sentiment? How dearly was this book discarded, by someone bored with its contents, with "J," or by someone cleaning out a bookshelf left by one passed on? Such a story without the first word of the book read.

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