My mother had a habit of using dried fishbones as bookmarks when she was desperate. Readers leave all sorts of things inside their books, not just inscriptions. Now ’The Secret History of Second-Hand Books: an Exhibition’ is running at Foyles Bookshop on Charing Cross Road until Thursday 13 December.
Some of the things found inside the books here include ticket stubs, stamps, pressed flowers, cheques, gift vouchers, photos, postcards, business cards, inspirational poems, a child’s handmade card, a hand-drawn map of Kensal Rise cemetery, an ad for Spokes & Son’s Motor Cycle Service, and an itemised bill for rooms 10-11, of the Caledonian Hotel, Callander, circa 1953.
Over the years I’ve found flotsam and jetsam, odds and sods, and one letter from Ronald Searle to his agent in 1955 stuck behind a flyleaf. You don’t get that with a Kindle!