I was over at Sarah's Books - Used & Rare, reading her post about a reading journal that recently came into her hands. She says, "There's nothing so sweetly ephemeral as ephemera such as this."
Her post reminded me of me of a wonderful artifact that used to sit in the display case of the used bookstore I worked in during High School. It was a large encyclopedia about wines of the world. The owner of the book had turned it into a masterpiece. Wine labels, review slips, and notes had been added to the book over the years. Normally, I would have palpitations over seeing a book so used. In this case, however, I was moved by the previous owner's passion. All the writing and labels added to the quality of the book instead of detracting from it.
The book was so thick with additions that it no longer closed. It burst open at to a forty degree angle. There was no way this book would fit on a bookshelf with other books. It was an entity unto itself, and, from the first moment I saw it, I wanted to own it. Unfortunately, at the time, I could not afford it.
I go home about three or four times a year, and I always check to see if this book is still there. It always was, until this Thanksgiving. I walked in, looked at the case, and it was gone. My heart plummeted more than a little.
On the bright side, the one other book I've wanted to buy from the shop - a first U.S. edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula, rebound with red leather and a black leather bat - is still there. And the price dropped by a grand.
Maybe. One day.
If I wish hard enough.