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?


Bookfinds Editor. Book Reviewer.


  1. 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.)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.”

  5. 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.

  6. 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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