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

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!