So, like a lot of my books, I found this one in a BookSale. In fact, Hustvedt has become one of those authors that I have to rely on bargain bins for. Either overstocks or previously-owned, these books have gone through lives of their own before they came to me. Which brings us to this picture:
That’s a shot of the inside of the cover of my copy of What I Loved [click for my thoughts], Siri Hustvedt’s novel. I had to think of a story, had to imagine a previous life. And then, well, I did some fact-checking:
There’s an “Ashland Park” in Illinois, but I don’t think a subdivision would lovingly fold p.36 — and I wonder still: Did the previous owner ever read on from that page? Maybe the previous owner had lived in Ashland Park? Or maybe the book belonged to someone in Ashland Park? But, well, why not write one’s name? Why so redundant? Do subdivision offices have libraries? Oh, and there’s also an “Ashland Park” in South Carolina that calls itself “the only destination” for both business and pleasure. Cliche aside, the place looks neat. But it’s on a road named St. Andrews. And the address, 1645 Ashland. What’s happening here? There’s a hair salon in 1645 N. Ashland Avenue and — wait for it — it’s in Chicago. And and and urgh, yes, never mind.
I was really hoping it was, I dunno, Ashkid Park from 1645 Auckland. A person. See, the book’s gone through a lot of handling. There’s that stain, for one. And you know how books get, uh, bloated from its bindings. That it’s not-so-compact, but almost fluffy. And wonderfully easy to read because the book falls open with the least resistance? I was hoping all that had been the result of one person reading this lovingly, without concern for being all-uptight about preserving the new-book look. I’m not anymore sure so much, though.
I’ve been thinking, for quite some time now, about putting up a post about these inscriptions — evidence of previous lives, marginalia, dedications. In take note of these if I find them, citing them in my notebook. I have photos. It’s a weird little hobby. In our more sentimental forays into BookSale, P. and I would go home with books if only for these inscriptions. I’ve done stories and vignettes concerning dedication, forgotten bookmarks, inscriptions. So, yeah, I ought to write about this in here, soon.