TIL About Anne Parrish who was browsing old books in Paris when she discovered a book that she loved as a child in New York. She showed it to her husband. He opened the book and discovered that was, in fact, her childhood copy of the book with her address and name on the inside cover.

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For our wedding, we bought old books as part of the centerpieces. We tried to find books that were relevant to the guests at the table and we let them take them home, if they wanted. One of our friends is a huge plant nerd, so we got a botany book as part of the stack for his table. He later informed us the book we got was actually his from decades ago. He happily took it home with him.


Oh, I have a similar story! My great great grandfather was a politician and author, not super well known, but influential in his time. My brother likes to search his name periodically on ebay to see if any neat heirlooms show up that we can collect for our family history. Now one of his books shows up, which is fairly common, but this one was signed: “To my son, from the Author, lady___day’s great great grandfather’s name” How fun, it has a connection to my great great grandfather and my great grandfather. My brother reaches out to the seller and ends up buying it as a gift for my dad for father’s day. When my dad receives the book, he’s excited because he didn’t already have a copy of this one book. He opens it up and sees the inscription and is thrilled. How cool that this has touched hands of four generations. But it gets better… My dad starts leafing through the pages and out falls a small folded piece of paper, a piece of paper my brother and the seller hadn’t even noticed. On the paper is a typewriter written note with a signature below. My dad begins to read the note out loud: “Dad, I thought you would enjoy this and get a kick out of the inscription. Love, lady___day’s Aunt’s name” Turns out that my deceased aunt (my dad’s eldest sister) had given this book to my deceased grandfather years before and had somehow ended up donated to a thrift store after his death. So this book had been written by my great great grandfather, gifted to my great grandfather, left the family after his death, was rediscovered by my aunt in the 80s, gifted by her to my grandfather, left the family again, found by a seller in a thrift store, sold on eBay to my brother and then gifted to my father… I doubt my dad is going to let go of this one anytime soon, hopefully it will pass along to my niece and beyond.


Something like that happened to me once. I bought a small book on ecology and evolution from a second-hand bookstore. I re-sold it or gave it away while house moving a few years later. About 10 years later, I found the book in a box of used books at a flea-market fundraiser. While leafing through it, I realized it was the exact same book. And then, I suddenly remembered…when I originally had it, I stuck a folded $20 bill under the book cover as a stash of emergency cash. Sure enough, I checked the front of the book, reached under the cover, and found the $20.


Not the same thing, but I once did an internet search on a subject I needed info on for work. Found a great article which contained the exact information I needed. I then realized I myself had authored the article a few years earlier. My past self was brilliant!


When I was dating my husband, his teacher mother had just retired. She gave me a book for my daughter (from a previous marriage) it was a school issued math book, 4th grade level. It looked familiar and when I opened it I knew why. It was mine. This book was issued to me in the fourth grade, it had my terrible cursive name written in the ‘check out’ section those books had. I guess the last school she worked at was my old elementary school and she took some old out of print books with her when she left. Small world.