Inappropriate Bookmarks


I have mentioned before that I sometimes write in my books. I will highlight important passages, intriguing quotes and memorable moments, and I thought that was disrepectful but this takes the cake…or should I say bacon?

Dan Thompson has spent his life collecting unusual items found in books from secondhand stores or libraries. Apparently, finding bacon is not that uncommon a find. BiblioBuffet even devoted an entire post to the “Legend of the Bacon Bookmark.”

I want to know…what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever found in a book?

Categories: Book News


  • Without question, the strangest thing I have ever found was the “bookmark” that sparked my interest in bookmarks and became the first one of my collection: hair. Here is what I wrote about it in January 2006:

    I was browsing the shelves at a local used bookstore when I noticed an old olive-colored book entitled The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac. Being fond of both old volumes and books about books, I pulled it off the shelf only to have it fall open to pages 55-56. Tucked neatly at the beginning of the chapter entitled “Baldness and Intellectuality,” a bookmark particularly apropos to its location, sat quietly: hair. Specifically, a clump of golden brown hair, male from the length of it. It had lain undisturbed for so long it had even left visual stigmata on the page under it. I was enchanted and remain so.

    It is the only bookmark I own that stays in the book and the only one made of hair. But that experience has grown into a collection of more than 300 bookmarks.

    (Note: the collection currently numbers more than 1,300 bookmarks and counting.)

  • racy_rick says:

    I’ve found a couple photographs as bookmarks and I left both of them in the book. I’ve also gone to the library looking for a book realizing that a book I had returned had my checkout receipt in it.

  • Alissa says:

    I remember reading a Stephen King paperback (a new copy purchased at a Barnes and Noble) when I found a scrap of paper that read: “Jesus!” near the center of the book.

    When working at the library I received a frantic call from someone who had left rent money in a returned library book. The book had already been reshelved and luckily the envelope containing $600 in cash was still in it.

  • In a first-edition copy of “The Razor’s Edge” (my favorite book), I found a hand-written note from the author, W. Somerset Maugham. It was written to a photographer who had apparently done a portrait of Maugham that the author was pleased with. It’s signed “Willie.”

  • Sarah Smith says:

    In a book sale, I found Christina Rossetti’s copy of Dante–a translation by the man she would have married if she had not thought his Christianity suspect. It was full of stuff: annotations by her, by her brothers Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Michael Rossetti, and photographs of Cayley, the unlucky translator. But the most touching item was the bookmark, a long dried leaf of Solomon’s seal, marking the place in the “Paradiso” where Dante describes divine love. Harvard got the Dante, but the bookmark is mine.

  • Great post. Have been trying to learn a different language on the net but not having a lot of success, have been considering going to a local programme so this is helpful, thanks.

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