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

Thursday, July 27, 2017

So...About that Note You Left in That Book...

     Have you ever written notes to yourself regarding what you think about a particular paragraph of a book, or how it pertains to your life?  If so, we have found that you are definitely not alone.  Our discoveries this week are of people who have done just that, and boy, has it made for a fun time here at Bayswater. 

    One of our favorite finds was tucked into the 1969 book, A Loving Wife.  According to the author, this novel is about a “nice woman nearing middle age portrayed with wonderfully civilized grace” (whatever that means) and her journey through life as a mother and wife.  On a small piece of trucking stationary inside the cover we found a handwritten note in response to the title of the book.  The note read, “far from the title”.  We wondered, did the writer of the note think that the character of the book was far from a loving wife or could it be that the note’s author was talking about his actual wife?  Truthfully, we think it was the latter and that notion has created many possible scenarios to build upon regarding a trucker on the open road, gleaning advice from this 1969 book for women while writing down a few true confessions of his own.

     Another of our favorites was found in the 2015 book, Translating God: Hearing God’s Voice for Yourself and the World Around You.  Towards the beginning, the author writes about how he was talking to the stranger next to him on a commercial flight and the stranger stated that he worked for oil companies and traveled a lot.  The author thought that the stranger looked distracted, however, and when the stranger got up to use the bathroom, the author wrote that he suspected that the man “wasn’t telling him the truth” and that the stranger actually “didn’t work for oil companies, but was really the air marshal”.  Written on a small card and placed with an arrow pointing to this passage was the following message:

“Don- can I get an amen?! – Phyllis”

     Did Phyllis (whoever she was) also have experience trying to root out which passenger could have been the air marshal during her travels?  Was Don her assistant in that quest?  Let us all hope that Phyllis is not in the seat next to us next time we fly the friendly skies.  Move over, Columbo…Phyllis (and possibly Don) is on the scene.

    Our featured used books are always for sale here at Bayswater and The Loving Wife can be yours for the price of $18, as it is a first edition (and yes, you can have the note, too).  Translating God, however, is no longer available, as it just sold last week during the used book sale.  To catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor, you can always check us out at and on facebook, or stop by the store! 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

To Be, or Not to Be (An Engineer)

     Here at Bayswater, we are gearing up for our annual giant used book sale event and as a result, we have been handling even more used books than we normally do in the course of a week.  That means, of course, more interesting discoveries to be made!

     This week we found the test scores for a male student who took the National Engineering Aptitude Search Test (NEAS) as a 12th grader in 1968.  At the time, this test was organized by the Junior Engineering Technical Society, a non-profit organization that sought to promote engineering careers to high school students.  The test was taken using the old punch card system, requiring that student answers be marked by punching holes in the card to allow for what we now recognize as an early form of computerized data entry.  As you can see, the scores were reported on one single piece of cardstock no larger than a check.  Back then, misplace your test score report and there was no checking online to print out another.  Do you remember those days? 

     The student who took this test (and then left it in a book almost 50 years ago) displayed a very high aptitude for engineering.  In fact, the student scored higher than 90% of all other students in the nation who took this engineering aptitude test in 1968!  Clearly, this student had the makings of a top-notch future engineer. 

     Upon researching entrance requirements to engineering schools during 1968, we found that scores such as these would have helped this student to gain entrance into many top colleges and universities.  The question is…did he ever go to any such schools?  Did he, in fact, become an engineer, or did he decide to pursue another avenue, instead? Why would he leave such a stellar score report in a random book?  Did he ever show his family?  Ahh, the mysteries that pour forth from our used book floor.  We could easily get carried away with questions, here.

     Our thanks to those of you who have stopped by to see the now “famous” (as we have been told that it now is) used book floor in our store.  We even had a customer head upstairs yesterday excitedly proclaiming her high hopes that she, too, will discover the next gem hidden in the once loved pages that have now found a home on Bayswater’s second floor.  You never know…

Thursday, July 13, 2017

It All Took Place in a Southern Hotel in the Year 1915

Who needs a shovel or a map to find hidden treasures?  Every day is a hunt for long lost treasures here at Bayswater – except they come hidden in our used books.  Move over, Captain Blackbeard, and make way for the independent booksellers of Center Harbor, NH!

In our finds this week, we discovered a 1914 book entitled, The Neighborhood Cookbook, published by the Council of Jewish Women in Portland, Oregon, for the Neighborhood House: a non-profit organization which (still today) assists the vulnerable immigrant populations in the city.  The cookbook contains many recipes, including an entire section labeled “Invalid Cookery”.  You know we had to take a peek at that section just for fun.  Upon doing so, we found that the authors insisted that “dishes for invalids should be served in the daintiest and most attractive way,” and the “flesh of young animals” is best to bring, as it is most tender and easy to digest.  Um…ok.

Best of all, however, was what we discovered in the book.  We found a recipe handwritten on a piece of stationary from The Carolina, a majestic hotel in Pinehurst, N.C., that opened in 1901.  In the early 1900s, The Carolina boasted large, glamorous hotel orchestras for dancing in the ballrooms and was known as a premier place to stay in the south.  The stationary states that E.G. Fitzgerald was the manager at that time and upon doing a little research, we found that this was the case in 1915.  This meant that our handwritten recipe on The Carolina’s stationary was most likely from a guest who stayed there around that time.  What an interesting find!

Don’t miss us next week as we uncover new treasures on the used book floor (otherwise known as the alluring open seas for us non-pirate booksellers).  You can also keep track of our finds on our website,, and our facebook page.  

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Year Was 1889...

If you read last week's blog, (the first in our "Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor" series) you already know that here at Bayswater, we are finding amazing items in and among the many books we have for sale on our used book floor.  This week’s find comes in a book published in 1889 entitled Elements of Composition and Grammar.  Yes, the book, alone, is a great discovery, as it appears to be a first edition and is now 118 years old.  Elements of Composition and Grammar also displays a beautiful engraved cover (see picture).  But, alas, the book was not the best find – that award goes to what we discovered in the pages.

Perfectly pressed and sandwiched into pages 10-11 (in the “Exercises for Dictation” chapter, in case you were wondering) was a four leaf clover that, while we cannot be sure of the exact date it was preserved, appears to be very old and quite large.  Also found a few pages later was a postcard with a postmark of the year 1890 sent from Boston to an esquire in Boscawen, New Hampshire.  The postcard is handwritten on the front and contains information on the back regarding the 1889 decision by government officials of the State of Vermont to use Greenleaf’s Arithmetics book in all of the state’s schools.

     While it may seem that we must spend countless hours flipping through our used books in search of our next great find, we assure you, they just appear in the course of our daily fun here at Bayswater.  Be sure to check in next week to see what our next great “Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor” will be and don’t forget to stop by and check out the section for yourself!