MS Found in a Library Book

Been doing a bit of research here, and tucked into the middle of one of my books was a half sheet of paper, what said:

‘This note is offered in good faith, by a sensitive individual, seeking friendship – personal ads and bars aren’t my style. This note, like a ‘note in a bottle, cast upon the ocean,’ is for whoever might respond in kind. I have chosen library books to try reaching people of similar interests, inclinations, and personality, if possible.// I’m John [local address] [phone number] - a caucasian bachelor of small build, living alone by preference in an apartment near [university], from which I hold an M A, and work in a science field. I have a sensitive soul, gentle demeanor, zany sense of humor, and music as a hobby. Entry into social life and dating was delayed by a sheltered upbringing, isolated academic experience, and shy personality.// Those responding to myrequest should be: female over 21, unmarried with no children, a non-aggressive personality, and no chemical addictions. Some experience, informal look (jeans, short hair, no make up), taller than my 5’ 3", some non-western or mixed ancestry & complexion a little darker than my Irish-German look; and a tendency to be slightly unconventional, as I am experimenting with.//I hope for a friendship that resembles dating, in which we meet regularly to share commonplace activities (neither formal nor expensive) when we would rather not do them alone. It should not seek the full rnage or depth of marital expectations, but stay within our respective comfort levels. Goals are: equality, serenity, safety, communication, and (later) affection. A balance between personal privacy and being available to one another should be worked out. // I believe knowing such factors as above in advance is better than discovery over a long period. I also believe there are those who may welcome this offer, despite its unusual dissemination – so if it’s not you, please consider passing this on to someone more suitable. Many thanks for your attention.’

I don’t fit the profile, & in fact were I available and actively sought him out, he’d be in a strait jacket in under a week of being in my company cos I’m a wee more eccentric than fits his parameters…

Whoa. Sounds like the guy needs to lower his priorities a wee bit. :smiley:

Or, expectations. Yeah, that’s what I meant. Really.

Meh. If you’re gonna go all out, go all out, sez me. Who knows? His dream woman may just pick up the book and think “Gee, I’m been looking for a man too cheap to spring for a account”… :rolleyes:

Conceptually, the idea seems sort of romantic to me. That said, the message itself calls to mind one of those sensitive ponytail types that sits around beating drums, sipping cinnamon-snap tea, passing the talking feather and rejecting his mother while he finds himself in his cave or some shit.

If it helps any, the note was in a book called New Age Spirituality: An Assessment.

Back in the late 80s, early 90s, I did quite a lot of research in this library, and one whole floor was all the E books – which is Library of Congress for United States, Domestic. This was terra incognita for me, as America is not my field. But one of my friends was getting his MA in US history, and he told me there was a particular series of books on the E floor that if you pulled out a random volume, there would be a note with a card catalogue number, and that started you on a scavenger hunt all over that floor – you might go through about 10 books until you found a rather explicit single’s advert, usually people with rather kinky fetishes, etc.

There was also a lower stairwell where people would write card catalogue numbers, and you could start with that book, and go all over the E floor again until you came to the pay off book.

There was a system like that at my undergraduate uni, too, except the books were all of the non-circulating mediaeval English history books – wee bit of a shock the first time naive me pulled down a dusty volume of Matthew Paris.

[slight hjack, but it’s my thread] I’ve been skirting through a number of books on 60s counterculture and mass marketing thereof, and I would just like to say 1. people who underline in books – in pen – ought to be smacked silly and 2. people who write ‘deep comments’ in library books, in pen, ought to be smacked harder. The same person had a number of these books before me, and I find myself being distracted by my annoyance at his/her daft comments and cannot concentrate on the actual text…and my eyes keep being drawn to the underlined stuff. [you may now resume the regularly scheduled programming]

Personally, I wouldn’t stop at a smack. I despise people that desecrate books. In my mind, there are two types of people in the world; those who, if caught in a sudden rainstorm use their bodies to protect the books that they are caring, and those who put the books over their head to avoid getting wet. That second class of folks disgusts me.

Want to know a bizarre way to annoy your professors? Refuse to write notes in your books. I had more than one suggest people ought to, while looking at some of us in deep dismay. Were they raised by wolves?! Notebooks are a perfectly good place for notes, thankyouverymuch.

I didn’t say I would administer the smack with merely my hand, now, did I… :eek: :smiley:

My own books, I will take notes, use sticky post its, etc. With library books, much of the seethe isn’t so much wrecking the books but that there are shared books…wreck your own bloody book…if you MUST write on stuff from the library, photocopy the pages you need, then write to your heart’s content. Yes, books are easier to come by now than in the days when they were chained to the shelves, but for goodness’ sake, show some consideration – library books don’t belong to you!

And the books I take notes in, are NOT my rare first editions, no worries! In fact, my best friend and I like the brain candy of badly written horror books, and will write MST3K comments in the margins, and swop them back and forth – one book has gone back and forth between us for about 10 years now, always adding comments to the comments, and it’s a bit of fun. But be fair, this is just an inexpensive paperback what we bought ourselves, not some lovely library book that doesn’t belong to us.

It’s not just public and uni libraries – I knew a librarian at the British Library who could tell some right old horror stories – people holding up 16th century books by one page so they could see if there was a watermark on the paper, or the guy she caught making notes in an 11th century mediaeval manuscript with a felt tip pen.

The interesting thing is, in mediaeval times, new books were often written inside the old – for example, scholars would write commentaries this way, so you will find mediaeval mss with buckets of scribbling in the margins, notes called glosses, and the glosses would be compiled to make the new book. The ms what I used for my dissertation was like this: The monk who copied it was illiterate, so he made many mistakes (and at one point must have dropped the original on the floor and didn’t realise he put the pages back in order incorrectly, as he continued to copy everything all out of order.) His supervisor wrote in corrections and comments that start out quite neatly, then get sloppier and heavier with exasperation, actually going through the page in a couple of pages, until he must have said the hell with it. (If you have access to it, it’s Harley MS 3685) Crikey, gone over all boring and lecturey, so sorry…

In sum, then, back then, glosses could get you a degree, or even canonised if you were someone like Thomas Aquinas. Today it will get you my UK size 5.5 boot up your backside if I catch you.

I think the guy has found a way to make what he has work for him. He’s obviously got little to no social skills, and a decent bit of intelect. He used what he had, to get what he needs, booty. That seems pretty resourceful to me.

“Hey, can I use the copier? Thanks. I’m just gonna drop a few notes off at the library. The adult bookstore too, if I have time.”

I’m with you there. Occasionally I’ll write in pencil in my own books, but that’s it. (Usually the books I write in will be workbooks or strictly educational books.)

My mom has a habit of underlining and writing notes in all her books. All in pen, of course. They are her books (she wouldn’t do that to a library book), but I just don’t get it. Some times, more things are underlined than not. What was the point of that?

She always gets irritated with me when I refuse to read her underlined books. She acts as if I am being too picky or something. But I’m not. I can’t stand reading someone else’s freaky underlines and scribbled notes.

You say that like it’s a *bad *thing…

Sounds… Weird, but in a good way. Maybe.

I should leave something similar:
“We should talk -

I wonder what other books he seeded…this one was in the section of books on the New Religions and thoughtful discussion of Western Buddhism, changing outlook towards organised religions, and the science-spiritual outlook of religion in the late twentieth century…the books on the left side shelves were all CULTS ARE EVIL!!! and WACO, GUYANA, HEAVEN’S GATE, AND OTHER ASSORTED WHACKOS – you know, unbiased, calm, thoughtful tomes…and on the right hand stacks were the journals, books and literature spanning the centuries of Hindiusm and Buddhism…as mum put it, ‘There seems to be a fine line between nitwits and Nirvana…’

someone pitch this to Kevin Costner immediately!

How disgusting. “I will tie up your energy and affection but will not give any commitment in return, providing you fit this scrupulous physical profile.” This guy is an uber-jerk.

About writing in books… they are just paper and glue. Writing in books is not useful for me, or I would do it (in my own paperbacks). Writing in old and rare books, or tampering with the entire record of a MS (dare I say, censoring?) is the real crime.

It’s certainly more romantic than some variations I’ve seen, notably the (unused) condom left in a book. Oh, and a bra. Both with notes.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all…


I just wanted to say, this made me scream in horror.

I hesitate to lend even paperbacks to my mom because she will bend the spines, even though she says she won’t. If I am caught in the rain with a book I damn well protect the book. Books are my FRIENDS. I can get wet and dry again with no harm done, my books can’t.

I can’t write in them, even in pencil. It just isn’t right, somehow.

I stopped loaning books a long time ago…I had a set of books from my brother which I treasured, and someone asked me if he could borrow them, as his wife was a big fan of the books – when I finally got them back over a year later, the dust covers were tattered and ripped, the pages dog earred, and the wife had not only left sweets wrappers in between the pages, but smeared the pages with chocolate and food was all down between the pages, ground into the binding – I was furious and heartbroken.

I swop books only with my best friend now; when we were teens, I loaned her a brand new hardback novel with a dust jacket that mum had bought me as a present, and my habit then was to write my name small on a page that ended in 25, almost into the binding – she returned it in plenty of good time, and when I went to re read it, noticed my name was gone. Turns out, the first or 2nd day she had the book, through an accident, had ripped the dust jacket completely in half – she took all her babymindingmoney to buy me a new copy, because she felt so bad…

Don’t worry, this library lady was formidable…do you remember the Bloom County cartoons when the library lady would come after Binkley with an axe cos he had overdue books? She was like that, but not as benign.

The thought of that made me throw up a little in my mouth.