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 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 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 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 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 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 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 and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Friday, August 3, 2018

In a Dusty NYC Bookshop

     This week, our most recent find on the used book floor takes us back to the 1920s and 1930s in a historic used book shop in New York City.  Ahh, the possibilities.

     Our discovery was made in a first-edition, signed copy of “Warren Harding: Our After-War President” that was published in 1924 and written by author and newspaper man, Joe Mitchell Chapple.  Chapple, born in 1867 and, at 57, roughly the same age as President Harding when he wrote the book, was married to a relation of the president: a woman by the name of Annie Harding Ryder.

     Tucked into the pages of the biography was a crookedly typed packing slip from May 17, 1939, noting the sale of the Harding book to a Mr. Eager in Concord, New Hampshire.  The book - a hardcover 386 pages in length - was purchased and shipped to Mr. Eager for a grand total of $2.00.  Where it was shipped from, however, is of even more interest.  

     Our almost 80 year old packing slip denoted that “Warren Harding: Our After-War President” came from the shelves of the Dauber and Pine Bookshop in New York City.  The owners/founders, Austrian and Russian immigrants Samuel Dauber and Nathan Pine, opened the shop in 1922 and became, arguably, the nation’s most famous used book store and, according to the New York Times, “literary world legends”.  Carrying a stock often ranging between 200,000 and 250,000 books, the Dauber and Pine Bookshop sought to offer quality out-of-print copies of books wanted by private collectors and institutions.  You would not have found a recent bestseller at this store on Fourth Avenue!

     Maybe you have seen this type of used bookstore in person or in the movies.  You know, the type where everywhere you looked, you saw piles of old books.  Some were stacked on tables, some on shelves, some on the floor, and still others in every corner you could see.  Dust was a common accompaniment to each stack and a customer coming to look for a book at Dauber and Pine Bookshop would need to be prepared to roll up their sleeves and get a little dirty.  In 1939, somewhere in this antiquated book haven, sat an autographed, first-edition of the Warren Harding book that we found today with their store’s documentation inside.  If only the book could talk and tell us of its journeys!

     Thinking of stopping by Dauber and Pine Bookshop during your next trip to NYC?  Sadly, you are too late.  The used bookstore/legend closed in 1983 when owner Nathan Pine was 90 years old and ready to retire.  In his obituary, less than a year later, the New York Times stated that there was “hardly an American writer of any note whom Pine has not known or who has not known him” as the paper lamented the end of an era.

     Ok, so we are not exactly Dauber and Pine Bookshop, but here at Bayswater, our used book floor contains a world of treasures all its own.  One such treasure, the 1924 copy of “Warren Harding: Our After War President” is available (with the historical find) for $25.  You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Friday, July 27, 2018

For the Birds

     Our find on the used book floor this week is for the birds – at least, it is all about the birds.  The keeper of our find was a copy of “Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification” book that was printed in 1966.  Full of illustrated pictures and descriptions, “Birds of North America” provides 325 pages of information for the interested bird watcher from any part of the continent.

     In the 52 year-old guidebook, we found a small dental appointment reminder card belonging to the owner of the book in April of 1980.  The owner (besides needing to make a dentist appointment) was clearly a bird enthusiast/watcher, as she made precise notes on the dental card about bird activity on one particular day of that year: April 17.  On this day, at precisely 7:00am, (which was observed by the watcher to be warmer than usual at 65 degrees, might we add) the bird enthusiast noted that she saw the following 11 birds out her window: a cardinal, dove, goldfinch, brown-headed cow bird, evening grosbeak, purple finch, chickadee, blue jay, titmouse, white-throated sparrow, and red-winged blackbird.  This was all during a morning cup of coffee!

  Now, we know what you are thinking…was this person confused with some sort of “Wild America” bird-themed TV program that may have aired that day?  Rest assured, this is not possible, as we researched and found that both “Wild America” and the popular PBS “Nature” series, trailblazers of their time, did not debut until two years later in 1982.  Wherever our mystery bird enthusiast/watcher was, (and we assume she was on the North American continent, hence the book) she was clearly experiencing a bird palooza of sorts.  Apparently April 17 of 1980 was a big day for our feathered friends!

      This date, however, was not the only one noted by our mystery bird watcher.  The enthusiast wrote small dates next to the illustrations of some of the birds throughout “Birds of North America,” as well, noting what month and year each bird was observed.  These notes actually began prior to 1980, as, for example, the Hairy Woodpecker was observed in February of 1976, the White-Crowned Sparrow stopped by for a brief snack near the pencil-wielding enthusiast in May of 1996, and the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak briefly posed for a viewing in April of 2004.  If you are keeping track yourself, this means that this copy of “Birds of North America” contains viewing dates and notes from over 40 years of bird watching by our observer and book owner.  That is pretty incredible and, we think, a small slice of history.

     The “Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification” book, complete with decades of notes and observations, can be all yours for a grand total of $3.00.  You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Three-Dimensional Find

     This week’s find is our first that did not come directly from inside the pages of a book, but rather, it came from the box that the books were donated in. This means that our find is three-dimensional – how exciting!

     Sometime last week, a box of used books was donated and left near our front door while we were closed. The box held an entire set – 21 books - of famed author Patrick O’Brian’s bestselling historical novels set in the early 1800s on the sea in the Royal Navy. These nautical books center around the adventures of the same central cast of characters, most notably the Royal Navy’s British captain Jack Aubrey and his Irish friend, physician and intelligence agent, Stephen Maturin. Ever heard of the 2003 movie titled “Master and Commander” starring actor, Russell Crowe? It was based on O’Brian’s first book in his series with the same title and characters.

     As we sorted through the books, we came upon a small green plastic box. Inside the box we found, at first glance, what looked to be a pocket watch of some sort. Could this be related to the historical books, we wondered? Maybe it was used as a tool on the sea to help tell time, or perhaps it was a nautical heirloom! We might have gotten a little carried away, as a closer look at the pocket-sized find quickly dashed those thoughts/dreams when we noticed that it wasn’t actually a clock face, at all. After a little research, we discovered that the find was a measurement tool that looks like a pocket watch, but is actually a vintage drafting scale measuring wheel. What is that, you may ask? We were wondering, too.

     Used for drafting, map reading and blueprint reading/development, the Alvin 1114 (model name and number) consists of three dials: one that measures 1 inch increments up to foot, the second that counts the number of revolutions of the first dial from 0-10 feet, and the third that counts the revolutions of the second dial from 0 to 100 ft. Such an instrument could have been used by an engineer, land surveyor or architect (before the introduction, perhaps, of software programs that now complete the same tasks). We have no idea how old the measurement tool is or where it came from, but we have one clue that we are hoping you can help with.

     On the back of the Alvin 1114, we discovered three initials engraved into the metal: DWJ. Who is DWJ and how did their vintage measurement tool end up in our box of donated bestselling nautical novels? Do you have any ideas? We would love to return it to its owner, so if you are DWJ and you know what the heck we are talking about, give us a call or stop by to retrieve your tool. We feel the need to admit that, just to try it out, we may have measured a few things with it around the store (true confessions, here). You know, a Lake Winnipesaukee map, a book or two, the length of a salt and vinegar potato chip that we were snacking on…you get the picture.

     The set of Patrick O’Brian historical Royal Navy novels are yours for 2.99 each and if you are DWJ, we have a nifty vintage measurement tool (that looks like a pocket watch) for you, as well. You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at and on facebook. Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


     Here at Bayswater Books, we love a good mystery, and our latest find of the week on the used floor gave us a double dose of the genre, as both the discovery and the book it was found in qualified as a whodunnit (or, in this case, who "won" it).

     A 1987 copy of Agatha Christie's classic mystery novel, "Appointment with Death" was the scene of our crime, so to speak, and in it we found the most intriguing clue.  A lipstick stained, typewritten note or a napkin from a bar or hotel, you might ask?  No, ours is much better and far less of a cliche.  Are you ready for this?  We found a first place ribbon indicating "Best of Breed/Variety" from an American Kennel Club dog show that took place at the South Dade Kennel Club in Miami, Florida on June 4, 2006.  Not exactly reason to call Scotland Yard?  Ok, that may be true, but this ribbon launched a whole new mystery for us to investigate.

     Of course, we wanted to know more about who (meaning, what dog) won best in breed/variety.  If you have read any of our previous entries, you know this means that we’ll pull out all of the stops to find the answers we seek.  So, after scouring the internet and coming up short, we decided to call a top official of the South Dade Kennel Club in Miami and ask her what she knows.  Why not, we thought?

     First, let’s just say that Paula (that is her name) was just a wee bit surprised to hear from us.  As a matter of fact, we could hear her excitedly exclaiming to individuals in the background that “a store in New Hampshire found a Best of Breed ribbon of ours in a book, sort of like finding a message in a bottle!  How great is that?”  She then proceeded to teach us a little about the world of AKC dog shows in an effort to narrow our search.

     We learned that over 190 AKC registered breeds are entered into an average show and each breed is also classified into a group that represents the characteristics and function of all dogs (Terrier, Toy, Working, Sporting, Non-Sporting, Herding, and Hound).  Once a dog has won Best in Breed/Variety, it is then entered into the next round, or the group level, to compete against the other breed winners in its grouping.  The seven winners of each grouping then compete for Best in Show.  That is a tough climb to the top, we say.

     Paula told us that because our ribbon did not state what breed our winner was, we do not know if he/she won Best in Group in the next round or, better yet, if he/she were able to capture the Best in Show title.  Could it have been a Chihuahua?  What about a Bluetick Coonhound?  Maybe a Mexican Hairless dog?  We will never know, but on behalf of the staff here at Bayswater, we would like to congratulate Fido (or Max, Fluffy, Buddy, Lucky, Princess, etc.) on his/her Best of Breed/Variety win and hope that he/she went on to dog show greatness (and a life of endless treats and companionship, of course). 
     The 1987 copy of Agatha Christie’s “Appointment with Death” (with the winning ribbon) can be purchased here at Bayswater for the price of $6.99.  You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Joy of Cooking & Investing

     This week, our find on the used book floor” starts off with an innocent, 65 year-old cookbook, but ends in a tale of financial fraud and corporate greed. The keeper of our find was a 1953 printing of “The Joy of Cooking” and this is where our story begins.

     Hidden in the pages of the cookbook was a 1983 investment report from the Prudential-Bache Securities financial company. It belonged to a woman in Reading, Massachusetts, (the owner of the cookbook) and detailed how much her investments were earning. When our cookbook owner received this notice, however, she did not know that only three years later, Prudential-Bache would become the focus of the largest financial scandal of the decade. More than 300,000 individuals, most of them elderly and on fixed incomes, lost millions of dollars by investing in limited partnerships that were anything but safe, as Prudential-Bache assured that they would be.

 At the time that this investment report was printed, Prudential-Bache employed a wealthy and grandiose man by the name of Clifton S. Harrison. Harrison carried a hidden, troubled past unknown to Prudential-Bache investors such as our Reading, Massachusetts, woman: a past that included a financial fraud conviction. It was Harrison’s deals (sold by countless brokers to unsuspecting clients) that would line the pockets of Prudential-Bache to the tune of millions, while bankrupting the life savings of those who invested. According to the Chicago Tribune in 1995, Prudential-Bache, now known as simply, Prudential, “cracked the foundation of the marketplace” by taking advantage of the consumer and destroying the faith of its investors. Perhaps that could be why their company slogan in the 1990s stated that “the most important thing we earn is your trust”. Good plan!

     Was our Reading, Massachusetts, cookbook owner one of the over 300,000 people who lost their savings? We do not know, but we certainly hope not. Instead, we would like to think of her making plum pudding (the recipe page that the investment card seemed to be marking) and enjoying the dessert with her family on a carefree evening.

     On a lighter note, we also feel that we would be remiss if we did not draw your attention to a particular section of the cookbook, itself. Towards the back, there is a chapter introducing the reader to the newly invented electric blender. Originally created in 1922 thanks to the invention of the small motor, the electric blender was beginning to make its way into households across America in 1953 (when this version of “The Joy of Cooking” was printed). Novel as the electric blender was at the time, the cookbook states that “only the ghost of an old-time medicine man could do justice to its usefulness and fascination” and that it will do everything but “put out the cat” as the chapter sought to encourage the reader to try one out. Made you smile a little at least, right?

     The 1953 copy of “The Joy of Cooking” (with its investment report and antiquated charms) can be purchased here at Bayswater for the price of $5.00. You can catch up with our previous
finds of the week from the used book floor at and on facebook. Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Diverse Interests

     This week's find on the used book floor reminds us booksellers, yet again, that the interests of readers are vast, diverse, and unpredictable (which is excellent!).  Illustrating this point for us is the combination of this week's find with the subject matter of the used book it was tucked in.

     We discovered a transcript from a 1985 Ken Burns non-fiction television documentary that aired on PBS - only his second one out of the now nearly 30 that the famed Emmy and Peabody award winner (and New Hampshire resident) has created.  This transcript was of Burns' one hour look into the culture of the Shakers and how they put their "hands to work and hearts to God" in the creation of their fine furniture, as well as their belief in pacifism, simplicity and perfection.  The 32 year-old document also states that the narrator of the documentary was none other than David McCullough, who is now one of America's most celebrated historical non-fiction authors and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes.  In 1985, the transcript was purchased by and sent to a Nashua, New Hampshire, resident for a grand total of only $3.00. 

     So, you might be thinking that we found this transcript in a book about furniture making, maybe, or something related to spiritual growth and living a life of simplicity.  Well, let’s just say that if we were playing the "hot/cold" game where hot means you are getting close and cold means the opposite, such a guess would fall somewhere in the realms of the arctic.  The transcript was actually discovered in the pages of a 1963 third edition reprint of the book, "A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue".  Yes, there is a dictionary of English slang and this is it!  Even more surprising is that while this sounds like a modern-day creation, the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue was actually first published in 1785 - not long after the Dictionary of the English Language was originally released.

     How, exactly, does one compile and create the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue?  Believe it or not, the author, Captain Francis Grose, cruised countless waterholes "eating, boozing, and listening" as research for this slang dictionary.  While a great amount of the slang originally recorded over 225 years ago remains in our speech today, (to "kick the bucket" is to die, being "flush in the pocket" denotes one of wealth) many slang words and phrases may have been lost long ago without Grose and his Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (oh, no!). 

     See what we mean about vast and diverse interests?  Does one find the urge to flip through the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue while reading the documentary transcript all about the life of the Shakers?  One never knows.  What we do know is that the dictionary can be purchased here at Bayswater for the price of $20.00 and the transcript is all yours, as well.  You can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by our store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Peaceful (and Valuable) Bull

     We are so excited about our newest find of the week on the used book floor!  Nestled into the pages of a book (more to come on which one) was a New Yorker magazine “Talk of the Town” article from January 1, 1938, telling all about the (then) newly published phenomenon of a children’s book entitled, The Story of Ferdinand.  The American author, Munro Leaf, wrote the book about a bull named Ferdinand who likes to lie under a cork tree and smell flowers.  A peaceful bull, Ferdinand refuses to engage in any sort of a bullfight.  The New Yorker magazine article marvels at how the little sleeper of a story about the peaceful bull, Ferdinand, became the bestselling book in 1938 – even surpassing sales of the soon-to-be classic, Gone With the Wind, published around the same time 80 years ago.  This was particularly notable when considering the fact that this young children’s book was published during the financial struggles of the Depression.  

     Ok, so, more about Ferdinand in a moment, but now, the best part….where we found the New Yorker magazine article from 1938.  It was tucked into the pages of what appeared to be an older hardcover copy of – you guessed it - The Story of Ferdinand.  This was no ordinary copy of the now beloved children’s classic, however.  The book we found was printed in 1938 and is autographed – yes, autographed- by the heralded author, Munro Leaf, himself!  Yes, you read that correctly, and we think it bears repeating – we have a 1938 printing of The Story of Ferdinand that is autographed by the author!  Can you tell that we are just a little excited? To fully grasp our glee, you may need to read a bit more about the worldwide significance of this book and its main character.

     The Story of Ferdinand may have been written for children, but it quickly became a symbol across the world of peace and representation for the bullied.  Because the book was published during WWII, Hitler ordered all copies burned, as he declared The Story of Ferdinand to be “degenerate democratic propaganda”.  Stalin banned the book, as well, while Gandhi and the Roosevelts embraced the story.  As a matter of fact, the book was so loved by the American president that upon winning WWII, the United States airdropped 30,000 copies of The Story of Ferdinand onto Germany to promote peace! 
     Despite the global fervor and disdain, The Story of Ferdinand was actually written by Leaf with no agenda in mind at all.  He penned it in under 40 minutes to help create work for his friend and illustrator, Robert Lawson. In fact, Leaf chose a bull as his main character simply because he thought that other animals such as dogs, cats, horses and mice were overdone in children’s books at that time. Leaf would later marvel (and chuckle) at how his story would be printed in 60 different languages and become political and social ammunition for decades to come.  Over 80 years later, The Story of Ferdinand is still considered to be a popular children’s book today and was recently turned into a feature film.

     Leaf’s 1938 autographed collectable copy of “The Story of Ferdinand” is for sale here at Bayswater for $250 and includes the New Yorker article.  We will be back with our weekly edition of our finds by the end of June and in the meantime, you can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by the store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Let’s Dance!

    Our latest find of the week on the used book floor is a true New Hampshire gem!  Tucked into the pages of a 1972 first edition, signed copy of Newt Tolman’s “Quick Tunes and Good Times” was a letter (typed on a typewriter, no less!) from the author to his cousin in the same year.  Who is Newt Tolman, you may ask?  Doesn’t ring a bell?  Well, if you are from New Hampshire or have interest in NH history, you will want to hear this one.   

     Tolman, a resident and member of the founding family of Nelson, NH, (pop. 4,200) was born in 1908 and helped to run the family farm that was later converted into a four-season resort at Tolman Pond in the same town.  He became an accomplished flute player and admirer of contra dance music (formerly known as square dancing before the term became known for being too “square”) throughout his young adulthood.  Contra dance had been around the Monadnock area since the mid 1800s, but lost favor when the waltz and ballroom dancing became popular in the 1840s. 

     Nelson, NH, became a contra dance revival location in the 1930s when former summer people and city residents came to live there full-time in response to the stock crash of 1929.  This new population of people was looking for new customs, and Newt Tolman and skilled musician Ralph Page were ready with their over 100 composed and reworked contra dance tunes.  Tolman’s book, “Quick Tunes and Good Times,” the holder of the letter we found, contained many of these musical selections.

The weekly contra dancing, complete with live music, became a staple in Nelson and by the 1970s, the Nelson town hall had become world famous for being the Mecca of contra dancing and music. Yes, you read that correctly – world famous! Some people even came to simply kneel while revering the dance floor.  For decades until his death at the age of 78, Tolman rarely missed the chance to play the alto and C flutes at the famous Nelson town hall contra dances.

     While the contra dance craze is not quite as popular as it was during Tolman’s heyday, the town of Nelson still hosts the weekly dance, complete with live music, every Monday night.  In fact, April 28 marked the 40th anniversary of the popular weekly event – an event that began in 1978 with the influence of Newt Tolman.  Some consider New Hampshire resident Tolman to be one of the world’s most influential contra dance contributors during the mid-twentieth century, and not only do we have his first edition signed book, but it contains a letter from him!

     Tolman’s 1972 “Quick Tunes and Good Times” is for sale here at Bayswater for $15.00 and includes the letter (of course).  Just a reminder that we will be publishing one blog at the beginning of each month until summer is upon us, but you can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by the store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Capturing Your Soul

     The weekend of July 14-15, 2007, was important for millions of people across the globe and it led us to our most recent find of the week on the used book floor.  Don’t recall those dates?  We have three words for you: Harry Potter movie.  Yes, July 14-15, 2007, was the premiere of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie that was based on the wildly popular book series.

     Tucked into the front cover of Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild and White Fang” compilation, our find was a movie ticket stub from July 15 of that year, admitting one adult to view the newest Harry Potter flick.  By now, you probably know how popular the Harry Potter movies were as they were released, so what, you may be asking yourself, is so special about this particular cinematic installment in the series?

      Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was novel (a little literary pun fun) for another groundbreaking reason: it was one of the first movies to use the technology known as Soul Capturing.  This new cutting edge innovation allowed a computer to map a real person’s emotions, facial expressions, and movements and place them in a very real-looking computer created individual.  Basically, this meant that the newly created person/avatar would physically look the way that the computer programmer designed him/her to appear, but would act and move exactly as the actor who was mapped.  In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Soul Capturing was used to create Grawp, Hagrid’s half-brother who is a giant, allowing the fictitious character to be created virtually while actor Tony Maudsley’s behavior, emotions, facial expressions, and movements were mapped onto the virtual giant (see pictures of Grawp and Maudsley below).

     The best part?  Soul Capturing software also introduced the ability to map an actor’s personality into a real person – living or dead.  This means that the movements, emotions and facial expressions of an actor such as Marilyn Monroe, dead for over 50 years, could be mapped onto a computer generated version of Monroe and, using the gathered information, the new Monroe could look and act like herself in a full length movie produced long after her passing.  Can you imagine where that technology could take us?  Actors would never have to worry about aging on screen, performers from vastly different time periods could appear together in movies and so much more because the technology now exists to “capture their soul”. We know what you are thinking – all of this discovered from the Harry Potter movie ticket stub. 

     London’s 2003 copy of “The Call of the Wild & White Fang” is for sale here at Bayswater for $4.99 and includes the ticket stub.  Just a reminder that we will be publishing one blog at the beginning of each month only during the winter months, but you can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by the store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself! 

Thursday, February 1, 2018


     This week’s “Find of the Week on the Used Book Floor” is all about the year 1983.  Think back…what do you remember about 1983, or 35 years ago?  It was the year of great landmarks for women, as American Sally Ride became the first woman in space and Margaret Thatcher won a landslide victory as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.   Cabbage Patch Dolls were first beginning to be sold (with great success) and the final episode of M*A*S*H aired with a record number of 125 million viewers glued to the screen.  Here in New Hampshire, you may not recall much specifically from 1983, but one local Laconia resident’s makeshift bookmark during that time period gave us a little peek into an interesting (and valuable) part of NH history. 

     Nestled into the pages of a 1983 copy of John Steinbeck’s classic, “The Grapes of Wrath” was a bank deposit slip of a Laconia man whose account was at Indian Head National Bank in Laconia (“in Laconia” was part of the entire name of the bank).  The institution was founded in 1892 and existed until the year…you can guess this one…1983.  The bank deposit slip was from that very year, as well (somebody buy a lottery ticket, already!).

     Never heard of this bank?  Well, after existing for almost 100 years, it was merged with the Indian Head National Bank of Nashua in 1983.  During its existence, the Indian Head National Bank of Nashua printed 26 different types and denominations of national currency, some of which is very rare and valuable today.  This includes the hard-to-find $2 bill printed in 1875, $10 bills from the same year pen-signed by both the then- president and cashier at the bank, and original $50 national bank notes – of which only 35 are known to exist today in total from all banks in the country.  Find any of these rarities and you can go straight to Antiques Road Show without passing “go” and you’ll certainly collect a great deal more than $200!

     So, what happened to Indian Head National Bank of Nashua, the institution that is responsible for such valuable currency, you may be asking?  Ahh, corporate takeovers.  Fleet Bank purchased the institution in 1989 and in 2005, Fleet Bank was bought out by Bank of America.  While The Indian Head National Bank of Nashua (and Laconia) may be gone, it doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t still hunt for its valuable currency! 

     Steinbeck’s 1983 copy of “The Grapes of Wrath” is for sale here at Bayswater for $4.99 and includes the deposit slip.  Just a reminder that we will be publishing one blog at the beginning of each month only during the winter months, but you can catch up with our previous finds of the week from the used book floor at and on facebook.  Better yet, stop by the store in Center Harbor and check out the used book floor for yourself!