Thursday, September 03, 2009

Freebies Forgotten

Random House's Suvudu Free Book Library has just posted some interesting new freebies for September: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur, The Changelings: Book One of the Twins of Petaybee by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, and Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. As before these are all available as downloads in .pdf, Kindle, Sony, and B&N ereader format, and/or can be read online on Scribd. Note 9/3/10: Since instituted an access fee scam to charge people for downloading e-books, including those I have provided for free for the last ten years, I no longer recommend using their service. See my post about this scam here.

If you're on Blogger, and you occasionally check the Blogs of Note (listed in the tabbed section at the very bottom of the dashboard screen on mine) you can find some real gems, like Forgotten Bookmarks, penned by a bookseller at a used and rare bookstore. FB posts images and descriptions of the things found in those books, just as I sometimes do here.

My latest forgotten bookmark was found in a 1927 edition of A Childhood in Brittany Eighty Years Ago by Anne Douglas Sedgwick (Mrs. Basil de SĂ©lincourt), which I picked up in very good condition from my favorite rare bookstore in the city. I found this plain index-size card tucked in between pages 18 and 19:

I'm guessing this note was written when the book was new, maybe even the year it was published. The ink has faded to a chocolate brown, and the edge of the card is a bit yellowed, but otherwise the note is as crisp and clean as if it had been written yesterday.

Dated only Dec 10, the front of the note reads:
I forebear a bright red card with "Season's Greetings" on it as too ironical, and insist this is not a Christmas present. You may have it for any of the following (see Roman Missal if you doubt their authenticity):
December 10. Commemoration of St. Melchiades*, Pope and Martyr.

On the back of the note:
December 11. St. Damascus, Pope and Confessor.
December 18. St. Lucy**, Virgin and Martyr.
December 16. St. Eusebius***, Bishop and Martyr.
Sorry they are all a trifle gloomy. Perhaps the martyrs will appeal to your sympathies -- Anyway, the book comes with much love from

I love to read old notes. Hardly anyone says things like "forebear" or "trifle" anymore. Makes me want to brew some tea and bake scones and talk like Emma Peel for the rest of the day.

Have you found anything interesting in an old book that was used as a bookmark and then forgotten? Let us know in comments.

*Also know as St. Miltiades.

**St Lucy was the first virgin martyr condemned to prostitution and one of the more interesting saints. According to religious legend, she pledged herself to God and started giving away her sizable dowry to the poor. Pissed off that she was handing over her wealth on the riff raff, her evil fiance denounced her to the authorities for her religion, which at the time was a big no-no. When they came to drag her away and put her to work at the local brothel, God gave Lucy the strength to stand immovable. Then they piled wood around her and tried to burn her, but God saved her again. Third time was a charm, though, and she was put to death by the sword.

***of Vercelli, not Cæsarea. I believe there were two or three of them.


  1. My bookmarks are almost always little notes I've found around my house.

    One that I found recently (and one of my favorites) is a note I left for my husband. I was grousing about the price of gas.

    I said: No way am I paying 89 cents a gallon. I'll stop by the cheap gas station on my way home. Love, Wifey.

    89 cents!!!


  2. That's one of the reasons I love buying old books - you never know what'll be inside. I can't think of any really interesting bookmarks, but I have an old copy of The Fountainhead with the original owner's military info written inside. He was with a bomber wing over the Pacific in WWII. I like to think he had the book with him when he went to war.

  3. Thank you so much for the links. Those will be very helpful!

  4. My mum and I read the same authors and often when she lends me a book she's just finished, I'll find a RM1 or RM5 note (Malaysian currency) between the pages! When I asked why it was so, she just said, "Well, they were handy!"

  5. I checked out a book from the library recently that had a 9 of Diamonds stuck in it as a bookmark. I think I may use it and return the book that way too!

  6. Another site you may want to check out: The Book Inscriptions Project, a cool blog that shows all the different inscriptions they've found written inside old books.