Leaving Your Mark on Books

I’m the sort of person who likes to keep their books in pristine condition, and people have often remarked how tidy the spines of my books are. In contrast, there are some people who believe that a well-cracked spine means a lived-in book.

Recently, though, I’ve discovered a few books that have a history.

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In a copy of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, I found this note. Whilst I would never, ever write in a book without being able to erase it, I find it so interesting to read notes that other people have written. It creates so many different questions in my mind: Who is Miranda? Why was she in Miami? How did the book get to be in the charity shop? It’s a whole fictional world in my head, within the fictional world of the book.

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I found this postcard in a copy of White Teeth by Zadie Smith, but this one isn’t so much of a secret. Although I also bought it in a charity shop, a sticker inside meant that I knew who it belonged to (I’m not sharing it because of personal details). I love the personal touches and seeing a glimpse into other people’s lives. It makes books so special.

Have you ever found notes in a book you’ve bought? Would you write them yourself?

Lucy Powrie

Lucy Powrie is a blogger, YouTuber and author from the UK. When she's not reading, she enjoys cuddling guinea pigs and eating Oreo chocolate, but let's be real: she's mostly always reading.

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  1. Reply

    Marina

    23 October, 2014

    YES! Sometimes I’ll go out of my way to look for books with things inside of them when I go thrift shopping. It’s such a cool experience. I’ll have to do a video on this soon! I tend to keep any pieces of paper I find hahha

  2. Reply

    Jess @My Reading Dress

    23 October, 2014

    I love notes in books! It just brings that sentimental touch with them, you know? Just seeing, touching, someone else’s words makes me think of who they are, were, why they’d give this up, what memories came with this? I love that little bit of history! I’m…impartial to writing a thing or two in my own books. It helps me remember who I was when I read it for the first time, what I loved, what I didn’t. It’s a little way to me to encase the past. An anchor, if you will.
    Jess @My Reading Dress recently posted…The Raven Cycle #3: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie StiefvaterMy Profile

  3. Reply

    Sophie

    23 October, 2014

    I agree, I love notes in books – even though I’d never write in them myself! I have a Terry Pratchett book where someone from the 90s randomly wrote a story plan in the back:

    “The Mystical Number 6: A load of people find out that they’re clones, all meet together, get over it, then decide that there’s a person controlling them, track them down. He doesn’t know he’s a clone. He goes insane. So do they.”

    Wonder if they ever wrote it? Lol…
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    Rachel (Booktastic Reviews)

    23 October, 2014

    I can’t say I have found any notes in a novel, but I did get a French dictionary that used to be my auntie’s and she’d written her name when she was my age on the front page, so I decided to add to the trend and write my name underneath it. I’m hoping whoever I pass it on to will do the same! 😀
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  5. Reply

    georgia

    23 October, 2014

    Such a cool post!:) I borrowed a graphic novel from the library once, and laughed a lot because some other reader had left funny notes by certain panels of the story. I remember adding to them before giving the book back to the library! xD
    Do you follow the Strand bookstore on Twitter? They tweet so many pictures of postcards and mysterious things they find in second hand books they’ve been sold. 🙂
    Gee x
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  6. Reply

    Finley Jayne

    23 October, 2014

    Once in a while I’ll find a note in a book that I’ve borrowed from the library-always fun to read them 🙂
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  7. Reply

    Rita @ Weaving Pages

    25 October, 2014

    I write in my books…. and stamp them with my name and date… XD I once found a train ticket inside a book, and I love it!! It’s just so interesting seeing a book’s past life. Great post! xx
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  8. Reply

    Jackie

    26 October, 2014

    I don’t own any books with notes in them, but I have checked out a handful of books from the library that have notes in them. I kind of love it because it creates this unexpected connection to the story and in a way the person who wrote the note.
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  9. Reply

    Chrissi Reads

    26 October, 2014

    I don’t write in my books, but it does make me smile to see people’s notes in books. I remember reading one for uni, and there was a note with a comment about how awesome my favourite lecturer was. It made my day to see that someone felt the same way. Great post, Lucy!

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