I was at a local Goodwill thrift store today with a shopping buggy half full of books when a lady who I’ve seen in the store many times came over and commented that I must really love to read. I hear this line so many times, usually from suspicious store managers or the naïve ladies who work the small-town library sales. “Yes, ma’am,” I’ll say, yuk-yuk style, “I-I-I sure do!” Today however I was less disingenuous. I admitted that yes I do love to read but I also have an online bookstore. We ended up talking for twenty or thirty minutes about all kinds of things and towards the end of it when we came back around to the subject of books she said that her husband, recently deceased, had a collection that she hadn’t been able to decide what to do with. She must have felt a rapport with me because she said that I should come take a look. She lives only a few miles from the store and we were both pretty much done with our shopping so I ended up following her home.
As it happens so often, the books she had to offer weren’t worth a damn. But seeing as how she seemed so relieved that they would be going to a worthy cause I said I would take them, about 100 books in all.
I have just unpacked the first box to see if it contained anything remotely interesting. Toward the bottom, one of the books, when I picked it up, had an unusual, top-heavy heft to it which, when I tilted it toward me, slid downward with an audible click. I opened the cover. This is what I found inside: