Photo Vomit [#11]: A Well-Worn Book


Finding books at a used book store could be just as fascinating as the story it holds.

I always assume that if someone bought a book, they are in essence, a book lover to the extreme. Don’t get me wrong. A book lover who borrows books from the library is just as crazy over books. But someone who spends money on a book is one who truly appreciates ownership; and seeing them lined up on a shelf is like looking at new born babies on the other side of the nursery room. So when I see books that were donated to a thrift shop, I often wondered why they gave them up.

Besides for want to create a space in an exploding book case, and all the philanthropic reasons one may have, do you ever think that owner had another motive?

Perhaps it’s Spring. And the owner woke up one day with a new lease on life. New perspective. Clean slate.

Maybe the story reminded them too much of a painful past.

Maybe the idea of reading about a pair of solemn brown eyes stabs them right in the chest.

Maybe the owner bought it on a day when she met someone special for coffee that led to a bookstore jaunt…a walk in the park…dinner…something more? Months later, they can hardly stand to look at each other’s eyes?

Perhaps it’s the romantic in me who reads more into a reader’s reasons. But I’d like to think that the world is full of readers who love their books so much that they can’t bear to part with them. At least, when left with no choice, and that the only reason why is to save themselves the remembrance of a heartache.

I digress.

This book, for example, looks so worn; and well-loved. It made me wonder how many owners it’s gone through since it found its way to the thrift shop? Or how many times it’s been read until its original owner decided to give it up? How many hands flipped through these pages before they decided, “I don’t want to spend $3 for this.”


This book also bears scars: nicks and curled pages. I wondered if the owner got so frustrated with the story that she or he threw it across the room in a fit of discontent and fury?

It also bears evidence that the pages got soaked.

Perhaps she was taking a bath, with her mobile on vibrate sitting listlessly on the bathroom floor. She was waiting for a call, or a text message, you see?. And when it beeped, she scrambled, and proceeded to drop the novel in the tub.

“Shit! Shit!” she says. Then picks it up, and tries to salvage the waterlogged pages.

These are the kind of things I think about when I stand in the aisle of a used book store. I must admit that it’s becoming their foremost draw.

Do you think about such things when you hold a used book in your hands?

Do you look at it and wonder, what’s your story?

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