A couple of months ago, I purchased a used book from an online bookstore. After receiving the book in the mail, I put it aside because I did not have the time to browse through the pages, let alone read it.
Last weekend, I saw the book again while clearing away the dishes. I decided to read it for a bit just before going to bed. Yes, folks, it was covered with a good amount of dust! I decided to browse through its pages and lo and behold, the book was a signed copy of author Susan Van Allen. It said, “To Anouche, Enjoy! – Susan Van Allen. I was ecstatic at the idea that the book that I now own was signed by no other than its author! I thought of what Forest Gump once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” Only my version is “Used books are like a box of chocolates. You never really know whose signature you’d see inside it.”
Most people probably prefer buying new books but I am the opposite. Aside from the fact that used books are less costly, I also like the idea of buying used books because I believe in preserving the “continuity of ownership”. I am always thrilled to find writings, scribbles, doodles, or sometimes even codes written by previous owners in different colors of ink. I often wondered when and where the original owner bought the book. What were his/her notes about? What was he/she was thinking at the time? Was he/she the original and the first owner? The second? The third perhaps? I would like to think that books never really die and are never forgotten. I would like to keep a wishful thought that they just change hands and never get lost. ***