Musing | The Secrets of a Secondhand Book

I ordered a book. As you do. I received the book. It was a near-pristine copy of The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch, in case you were wondering. And I put it on my TBR pile, knowing I’d read it soon.

I started it yesterday, but a most intriguing thing occurred. I opened the book’s front cover, only to have a photograph of a young man peep out at me.

Photo on 01-02-2015 at 15.40

Isn’t it cute? It’s obviously a student place, and – as my dad pointed out – given the limes in the bowl on the table, somebody obviously drinks a lot of tequila. But I have no idea who the young man is, what he does, where he lives – even if he’s still alive.

However, being a historian (at least in my mind), I can’t help but love this little snapshot into some stranger’s life. I might never find out who he is, true. I probably won’t. I just thought it was the loveliest surprise to find in a book. I hope whoever misplaced it isn’t too upset. I wonder if they even remember that they left a photograph in a book.

The photograph is sitting on my desk now, balanced against the windowsill. The young man has such a happy face, and every time I see it my mood lifts. It might be an unconventional way to raise my spirits, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t working.

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