Bayswater's Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor Blog

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Kept Flower


When is the last time you put aside an item in a safe place that held a special meaning to you?  We are all known to tuck away items from time to time as keepsakes and this week's Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor was just such a discovery.   

     Our find was hidden in a copy of an 11th edition "Robert's Rules of Order” book published in 2011.  This timeless set of rules for conduct at meetings was first created in 1875 when Henry Martyn Robert, an engineering officer in the Army, was asked to preside over a meeting being held in his town.  He quickly realized that he did not know how.  After failing miserably and feeling embarrassed, Robert vowed never to attend or preside over another meeting until he had researched parliamentary law.  Upon completion of his research, he created the now well-known "Robert's Rules of Order" guide that has been updated eleven times to show the progress in parliamentary laws and procedure. You are probably well acquainted with Robert's Rules and may not have even realized that you have been following them, or attending meetings where others are.  If you are familiar with a call to order, accepting minutes of a previous meeting or making a motion, you have been introduced to Robert's Rules of Order.

    When we first saw an envelope (our find) tucked into the procedural book, we have to admit, we thought it might turn out to be a copy of minutes from a meeting, or perhaps even the notes of a nervous first-timer looking to read up on how one presides over such an event.  Alas, however, we could not have been more wrong.  Inside the envelope was what appeared to be a dried rose and a note that says "Christine, Christmas 1972" alongside it.  Flowers tend to tell a tale, be it one of joy, congratulations, thinking of you, sorrow, or holiday remembrance.  As we held it up, we could not help but wonder what story the rose took part in 46 years ago.  This flower was important enough for its recipient to tuck it into an envelope with a note, press it, and hang onto it for decades.  We certainly hope that the rose was one denoting happy times, but it is impossible to tell. 

     Does this discovery make you wonder where your keepsakes are that you once put in a "safe place" and how long they have been there?  Something tells us that the owner of this special item never thought it would end up on the shelves of a used book floor in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire just shy of 50 years later. 

     “Robert's Rules of Order” can be yours for the price of $4.99 and the 46 year-old find is yours, as well.  You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at bayswaterbooks.com and on facebook. Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Drama for Dinner


     We don’t know about you, but sometimes we find that the quest of what to make for dinner each night is never-ending.  Our latest “Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor” deals with just that question, as the individual who left the discovery behind gave us a peek into his/her decision making process.
     The book, or keeper of our find, is a 2002 autographed copy of “No Certain Rest,” written by Jim Lehrer.  If that name sounds familiar, it is most likely because Lehrer, now 84, held the position of PBS NEWSHOUR anchor (or co-anchor) for 36 years.  Since stepping down from his regular anchoring duties in 2011, Lehrer is still involved in the editorial direction of the show and sometimes moderates the weekly analysis programs that air on Friday evenings.  In addition, he has written 20 novels, including “No Certain Rest”.
    Though Lehrer’s life and journalism experience could provide an interesting blog by itself, our discovery in the pages of his book is actually the lead story.  On the back of an e-ticket printout was a hand written list entitled, “What Should I Make for Dinner?”  While many of us have (most likely) experienced a back and forth decision making process in our head to solve this quandary, the author of the note decided to hash it out on paper (complete with the inquisitive title).  Below the above listed title, he/she wrote down the following options: Didi’s zucchini casserole, Lara’s mac and cheese, Mom’s couscous, and Lara’s broccoli pasta.  Underneath a couple of the menu ideas were a few ingredients, or perhaps even foods that could go along with the main course, if selected.

     Tough choices, right?  After all, how does one choose between Mom’s, Didi’s, or Lara’s culinary repertoire?  I mean, does selecting one over another suggest favoritism to one particular person?  What if Mom is not speaking to Didi, who is currently in the middle of a tiff with Lara?  This is where a simple dish of zucchini casserole, macaroni and cheese, couscous, or broccoli salad could turn into a larger-scale, food-related feud.  Everyone has a family holiday/dinner story that is best not recalled and choosing one of the above listed options could lead towards a reenactment of such a catastrophe.
     Fear not, for we know what the author of the note should do - make his/her own dish!  This recipe can forever be known as _________ (enter name here, i.e. Lauren’s, Bobby’s, Olivia’s, etc.) _____________ (enter dish name here, i.e. spaghetti pie, fettuccine alfredo, chicken paprika, etc.).  By doing so, not only will he/she alleviate any possible family/friend drama, but the dish could someday be listed with his/her name on a future “What Should I Have for Dinner?” problem-solving session experienced by another poor soul.  It is a vicious circle, this issue of continuously needing to make dinner, we say.
     The autographed copy of “No Certain Rest” (including the dinner question list) can be yours for the price of $10.00.  You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at bayswaterbooks.com and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Friday, September 28, 2018

X Marks the Spot


     The phrase "X marks the spot" sounds like something you would hear in an action-packed treasure hunting movie, but alas, here at Bayswater Books, our most recent "Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor" truly gives real-life meaning to the cliche.  What do we mean? Read on, friends, read on.
     The keeper of our find, our book, was a 1998 copy of "Law & Order: The Unofficial Companion" and it provides an inside look at anything and everything there is to know about Law & Order, the classic American police-procedural and legal drama TV series that ran from 1990-2010.  You know the show, right?  Come on, admit it, you might have even seen a few re-runs recently on TNT during a sleepless night or two.  Well, "Law & Order: The Unofficial Companion" tells you all about the cast, plots, sets, camaraderie, censorship, and so much more that took place behind the scenes.  If you have seen one or more of the 456 episodes, (20 years worth) this book will give you a peek into the sides of Law & Order that we never saw, but wish we had.  

     Inside the book is where the "x marks the spot” part fun comes in.  Nestled among the pages of "Law & Order: The Unofficial Companion" was a 1961 map - yes, a map- of Longs Peak in Colorado, or the Northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.  As we opened the 57 year-old map, we saw a small red X on the part of the map that is labeled Mount Lady Washington.  This is “x marks the spot” in real life!  No, New Hampshire readers, this mountain is not a relative of the Mt. Washington that looms above New England, but it does sit 13,281 feet high and takes approximately 8-10 hours to scale.  While it can be climbed year round, Mount Lady Washington requires a great deal of boulder scrambling and can cause altitude sickness, hypothermia and dehydration.  In short, it is not a day climb for the family.
     But, let’s get back to the exciting mark on the map.  What could the red X mean?  Could there be treasure buried there?  Maybe it is (or was) the spot of a clandestine meeting for a group of questionable criminals, or perhaps it was simply a mountain that the map owner had yet to climb.  We are not fond of the last idea, as it lacks imagination and drama, so we are throwing in our lot with the buried treasure or clandestine meeting conclusions.  Of course, our imaginations could be running away with us, but that is unlikely to happen (wink, wink).
     “Law & Order: The Unofficial Companion” can be yours for the price of $4.99 and the map is yours, as well (in case you want to try your hand at treasure hunting in Colorado).  You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at bayswaterbooks.com and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Letter

     Once in a great while, we are lucky enough to find a letter that someone has left behind in a used book. This week was one of those fortunate occasions and we are even more excited because the author of the letter and her husband were national figures during the 1960s. What are the chances?


     Hidden away in the pages of a signed 1962 copy of Louis Untermeyer's compilation of selected poems entitled, "Long Feud," was a letter written 56 years ago by Untermeyer's wife at the time, Bryna Untermeyer, to the owner of a small country book store in Lacona, New York. A former fiction editor for Seventeen magazine, (which, believe it or not, has been in existence since 1944) Bryna thanks the owner of the small bookstore for sending her a book of essays and states that because she is fortunate enough to be able to borrow from the Library of Congress, she will be seeking out more books by the same author. Upon researching, we found that, for the most part, individuals are not allowed to borrow from the Library of Congress, so Bryna must have gained special access through her position or that of her husband, Louis. Once you read more about him, you may understand why.


 
   Louis Untermeyer, the author of the book, was even more well-known during his time than Bryna. Born in 1885, Louis left his father's jewelry business behind in 1902 to pursue his passion of becoming a writer. His leap of faith and perseverance paid off, as he eventually taught at several universities and was named poetry consultant to the Library of Congress from 1991-1993. That position later became known as the poet laureate of the United States. Louis' anthologies were widely used in colleges across the United States and are even said to have helped to establish the reputation of famed poet, Robert Frost.


     Louis chose to thank the owner of the bookshop in New York by sending him an autographed copy of his book, "Long Feud" - the very same book that we found here with his wife's letter hidden away in it. If you are following us, all of this means that we found a signed copy of a 1962 poetry collection from the then-poet laureate of the United States, complete with a letter from his wife! How great is that? You never know where a letter might lead you...


     The autographed copy of “Long Feud” (with the letter included) is available for $20.00 here at Bayswater. You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at bayswaterbooks.com and on facebook. Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Everyone Loves a Good Puzzle

     Everyone loves to solve a good puzzle. From detective and game shows on TV to crossword and number games, our choice of puzzles may be different, but our interest in them runs strong. Our most recent Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor is full of puzzles, as both the book and the discovery require sleuthing and/or problem solving skills (in more ways than one).

     The keeper of our find (or, book) is a 1982 edition of “Uncollected Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.” If that name sounds familiar, that is most likely because you are familiar with Sherlock Holmes, Doyle’s most famous literary creation. While Doyle’s success with Sherlock Holmes, the puzzle-solving sleuth, has been well-documented, many of his other stories have been misattributed to other authors, lost, or pirated. The “Uncollected Stories by Arthur Doyle” brings together thirty-three fascinating and diverse tales written by Doyle – ten of which were previously unknown works written by the famous author. This is a great book that is full of literary puzzles, as Doyle is known for.

     Hiding between pages 5 & 6 of Doyle’s unknown works was our first discovery: a double-sided math flashcard that displayed two simple subtraction problems. On one side, large pink numbers showing the equation of 7-2 = were boldly printed, while the other side showed the problem of 16-9 =. Here is where the puzzlement comes in, as someone (presumably the reader of our book) wrote the answers in black pen to each problem on the flash card, but the answers are WRONG. On one side, the number 4 was written as the answer to 7-2= and the number 8 was scribed on the other side as a solution to the 16-9= equation. 

     So, maybe the reader struggled with math, we thought. Not all of us received the “subtraction superstar” or “mathemagician” award for math achievement in school. That is ok. Just as we were beginning to grasp this thought, however, we discovered our second find towards the end of the book and it threw us for a loop. Hidden away between pages 361 & 362 was a Sudoku page (noted to be of moderate difficulty level) that was fully and correctly completed. If you are not aware, Sudoku is a numbers game that requires the player to place the numbers 1-9 in appropriate boxes within a 9x9 grid using logic and problem solving. Surely your puzzle-loving self has come to the conclusion that we have a reader who struggles with basic subtraction, but can master a good Sudoko game. Figure that one out!

     We also think that it should be noted that it is always possible, due to the power of books, that the reader sharpened his/her puzzle and/or problem solving skills from the beginning of the book (where we found the erroneously answered flash card) to the end, where the reader completed the Sudoku handily. Could it be that the reading and absorbing of Arthur Conan Doyle’s unknown works helped to hone the problem solving mind of our book owner, much like hanging around with Sherlock Holmes would? This is the answer that we have decided upon, of course, and we are sticking to it.

     The copy of “Uncollected Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle” (with the puzzling mathematical finds) is available for $14.00 here at Bayswater. You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at bayswaterbooks.com and on facebook. Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Running Without Fear


     Our most recent “Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor” humorously examines the conflict between the health conscious part of our minds and our human needs/wants that say otherwise.  To truly experience the levity of the discovery, you will first need to be briefly introduced to the book that it was found in.

     The book that holds our discovery is a 1985 copy of “Running Without Fear: How to Reduce the Risk of Heart Attack and Sudden Death During Aerobic Exercise,” authored by Dr. Kenneth Cooper.  Upon briefly skimming some chapters and examining the main themes of the book, it became clear that the book discusses strategies for running that will reduce your risk of “sudden death” at any of the various running stages (warm-up, peak running, cool down, etc.). 

     So, if you are familiar with our past blogs, you know that we cannot hold back and therefore, we just have to say this: why in the world would you be out running if you thought that you might have a heart attack?  Honestly, after reading only small sections of the book, we feel more worried about undertaking any exercise now than we were before we came across this literary gem.

  
   Anyway, hidden inside the pages was a small propaganda-like card from 1993 that railed against the newly-proposed cigarette tax hike of .75 cents a pack by then-President Clinton.  First unveiled in the fall of 1993, Clinton’s cigarette tax sought to help pay for his universal health care legislation for all Americans.  Refusing to raise taxes across the board for all, Clinton instead sought to increase the fees on cigarettes and other targeted products.  The card found states that “everytime you buy a pack of cigarettes, President Clinton wants three more Washingtons” as it sought to drum up support for the reader of the card to call their elected members of Congress in protest.  The card further states that such a tax increase would be unfair to smokers and that President Clinton’s plan could destroy jobs in the tobacco industry.  Maybe the distribution of the cards worked, as you may recall that the Clinton health care legislation did not pass and was eventually declared dead one year later in 1994.

     If you haven’t already noticed the odd and humorous oxymoron taking place here, let us bring it home: the reader of the health conscious book about how to reduce your risk of sudden death appeared to be using the pro-cigarette (anti-cigarette tax) card as his/her bookmark!  Huh?  How do those two thoughts go together?  Maybe the reader was more afraid of sudden death and less fearful of the possible long-term decline that smoking often leads to.  We really can’t make this stuff up! 

     The thirty-three year-old copy of “Running Without Fear” is available for $2 here at Bayswater and the anti-cigarette tax card from 1993 comes along with the purchase. You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at bayswaterbooks.com and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!    

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Wonders of Hoboken


     Have you ever ridden the New Jersey Transit system?  The mystery person responsible our most recent Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor certainly did and his/her travels provided the backdrop for our discovery.

     Hidden away in the pages of a first edition, 2007 printing of Jonathan Kellerman's novel, "Obsession," was a NJ Transit ticket used for one individual to travel to Hoboken, New Jersey, on April 8, 2013.  It is not the day in history that makes this find interesting, however, as April 8 of 2013 was largely uneventful throughout the world (with the exception of the passing of the first female British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher).  Alas, it is the location (and historical significance) of the ticket's destination - Hoboken, New Jersey - that is most intriguing. 


     Now, when we mention Hoboken, NJ, located on the west bank of the Hudson River directly across from Manhattan, NY, you might think of the devastation that it suffered during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, less than one year before our mystery passenger took a trip on the transit system.  Or, maybe you know of it as the hometown of crooner Frank Sinatra.  If you are a history buff, you may even recall Hoboken for its piers that were taken by imminent domain during WWII, as more than three million soldiers (known as doughboys) came through the city.  All very interesting, we agree, but not our lead story.  What could be left to note about Hoboken?  A little summer slice of Americana: baseball.

     Hoboken was actually the birthplace of the first recorded game of baseball.  When was this, you ask?  The year was 1845 - almost 173 years ago.  Now known as America's past-time, baseball, (originally called "townball", with the "town" prefix now replaced with the similar word, "base") was first created by a man named Alexander Cartwright.  In 1845, Cartwright felt that each town should play the game with the same rules to allow teams to play against other clubs from varying locations.  One year later, the game of "baseball" as we know it, had begun with Cartwright's Knickerbockers falling short to the New York Baseball Club on a field in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Did you know any of that?  We certainly didn't.

     Hoboken was only the beginning, as interest in baseball began to expand in the early 1860s during the Civil War when Union soldiers took with them their zeal for the game during their travels.  By the end of the war in 1865, over 100 baseball clubs existed in America and only eleven years later in 1876, the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs was formed (now simply known as the National League, or NL, in Major League Baseball).  The American League, home to the Red Sox, came along 24 years later in 1901.  You have to admit, if you had been asked where baseball was born and first recorded, would you ever have guessed Hoboken, New Jersey?

      Jonathan Kellerman’s first edition printing of “Obsession” is available for $10 here at Bayswater (with the Hoboken transit ticket, of course) and you can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at bayswaterbooks.com and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!