Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A voice from the past

A second hand book is a voice from the past. A voice from the past telling us something about its former owner. Sometimes you can find a dedication revealing how much the person was important to the donor, or just a statement saying "this book belongs to..." which, together with the book state itself, will tell us what kind of person the owner was. Was it a precise person? Or was just a possessive person? Did the owner care about the book? Have the book been kept on a shelf or taken around? The book may be just worn out, as it always happen when you carry one in a bag. Or it may be literally spoiled due to careless. And sometimes you can find objects or notes among the pages. 
Browsing my new copy of the Uysses, I found the receipt of the purchase. Two minutes later then 1pm of 22nd of September 2010, a Thursday, in Charing Cross Road. Maybe a clerk on his lunch break? I cannot think really well about the former owner. The corners and the edges of the pages are bent, but the pages are clean, so it wasn't a "used" book. And there are stains due to a damp. Probably the purchaser has never read it. The Ulysses is a classic, one of those books that you buy just to show them on your bookshelf. Inside there was a Tube map, also. Brand new, of the year 2006. Four years older than the book.

Apparently, at that time, the zones were 6 plus other 4 named A, B, C and D. I've never heard anything about it.
  There was an envelop inside the book, with two tickets for a concert. Tuesday the 5th of October, 1:00pm, at Wigmore Hall in Wigmore Street. 
The Young Classical Artist trust's lunchtime concert. Less expensive than a normal concert, or this person had a son or a daughter playing that day, or just had a long lunchtime break. Or was a retired person. I could find it out, with a bit of work, since on the envelop there was the name of "him".
  Books speak to us in many different ways. It's up to us listening or not.

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