• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
  • Archives

We Could Have Had It All



I got a Gmail the other day from a writer in Israel. He said he “found” a copy of the Forest for the Trees on a bench in Tel Aviv. He liked the book, it helped him, blah, blah. What I want to know is: who leaves my fucking book on a bench? Or did he get to the chapter on “what makes editors” tick and, thoroughly disgusted, intentionally leave the book on the bench. He couldn’t even be bothered to throw it out. Or maybe it was more benign, just forgot it, which is even worse in my book. It’s also true that another part of me thought: go little book, you made it all the way across the world.

Did you ever find a book? Or leave one behind?









13 Responses

  1. “Did you ever find a book? Or leave one behind?”

    Yes to both. Details elude me, but I have left books behind for other people to take if they want — it’s the easiest way to give them away (though maybe they all ended up in the trash). I have also left several copies of “Franny & Toby” in Little Free Library boxes. Tetmanny Bookyseed.

    I have found books, too. For instance, there’s an antiques and junque shop a few blocks from my building that sometimes has books out back by or in the trash bins. I don’t bin-dive by habit, but one day I found a copy of Locke’s “The Second Treatise of Civil Government,” Basil Blackwell 1948 edition, in its original dust jacket. Another day I found a copy of Lowell Thomas’s “So Long Until Tomorrow,” William Morrow and Company 1977 edition, also in its original dust jacket, and inscribed inside on the front cover “To Chris, with love, from Mom, December 1977.” (Thomas is a great-uncle of mine by marriage, on my mother’s side.)

    • I’m glad to hear you bring up the Free Library Boxes. They’re popular here in Washington state, but can be found in lots of places. There’s also the world wide movement involving one to leave a book and find a book. I think it’s a wonderful way to spread good ideas, to share what you like by passing it on for free.

  2. At what point is modesty not good? At this point. Trust me. Stop. He got to the point where he or she realized she was not crazy, and sure as fuck, not alone, and then this writer left that book for someone else to find and sure enough get moved, or was so moved they forgot the book and moved on with their lives, just like the red mother-fucking sea, baby. Betsy, you rock. Even in Israel. Get used to it. I was on acid once in Laguna Beach, California and left a Brian Eno record on a fence post. Another Green World is what is was called. I don’t know why I did that. When I went back the next day it was gone. I wanted to be a guitar player. It spoke to me. I wanted to share. God only knows.

  3. Many years ago, I found a journal in a derelict building. My client wanted to restore the building, but the first issue was evicting all the transients and securing all the access points from re-entry. The journal was no work of literature – the author (in his drug-infused state) was certain he was a 21st century Kerouac. However, the observations and commentary were only a sad example of street life and incomplete education.

    Perhaps this young man found his way to Israel. Perhaps, during the course of reading your book, he was called away to meet his editor and decided to leave your book for another anxious writer. It’s a happier scenario than the one which was, probably, his actual fate.

  4. Holy moly, I’m wondering if that book was left by my writer friend in Tel Aviv. I’ll have to ask her. She’s always writing in this park, at night (can you imagine???). Knowing her, she’d be devastated to have lost it.

    I have never found a book. Now I’m thinking about this and wondering why. I HAVE thought about doing what Tetman has done. Leave a book, somewhere. I haven’t yet. I tend to leave bookmarks.

  5. On my last night in Kathmandu, I left a baggie of pot I couldn’t finish on a shelf in a restroom stall. It was a sizeable quantity, the remainder of an ounce I had paid a young boy on the Annapurna circuit the equivalent of US 75 cents. I scrawled out a note that was sp[elled wrong but hopefully got my message across — BON APETIT.
    It’s possible the person who found the weed smoked it and subsequently left a book somewhere for someone to find.

  6. I found my book — used — for sale on Amazon. All the questions: why didn’t they like my book? Did I give them that book? Why not give it away to a friend, a library? It was demoralizing.

  7. When my wife and I go on holiday we always take 3/4 paperback books with us and leave them in the hotel lobby/ at reception for other guests to pick up and read
    The Science Geek

  8. I always considered myself a literary snob, reading only those things that were deep and made me “think,” but one time, while on a trip to Europe I finished my book. Restless I picked up and started to read my husbands legal lit book my Michael Connolly. I was HOOKED, I read it quickly and there I was in a french farmhouse in the country. Nothing to read and a shelf of titles all in french, when I saw ANOTHER Michael Connolly book. It was a sign, I swapped out the one I had with that one and TOOK IT. Does that count as a “find?”

  9. Yes, I do leave books in random places, quite on purpose. When a book has done the rounds of my reader friends, and it’s not an ‘I want to keep this book forever, I can’t bear to be parted from it’ book, I will leave it somewhere public so that someone else can pick it up and, hopefully, enjoy it.

  10. Help Me Out On How To Become Good Speaker

  11. I found a book in a cabin near Glacier National Park. It was Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. The man who left the book wrote a note saying how much he appreciated it. The view of a mountain range above the cabin was the perfect setting. He was in awe of the spirit of adventure that those mountain climbers had. He was too apprehensive to do anything like climb a mountain himself. My friends left a subsequent note calling the man a wimp and signed my name.

  12. I always pick up any reading material I find lying around in whatever place. I take a look at it, browse through the content, then if I find it not to my liking, I put it back it was it for others to pick up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: