Posts Tagged ‘hidden communities’

Why secondhand books rule

I’m currently reading Negroponte’s Being Digital. It was in my haul from the Mysterious Benefactor.

One of the joys of reading a book after someone else is seeing annotations. The past reader of this particular book marked the odd paragraph, placed neat ticks besides some sections. Delightfully, neat print proclaims “Not true” besides a claim that digital books are ever-present and will never go out of print.

I took great pleasure in a physical discovery, a bookmark in the second half of the volume. It’s from the Shaman Drum bookshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a part of the world I have never visited. Apparently, they specialise in academic, scholarly and literary titles. This leaves me with a lovely (and probably wildly inaccurate!) mental image of the bookstore, plus a wondering about what other books this bookmark has seen.

These little things — annotations, scuff marks, tatty forgotten bookmarks — all serve as reminders that we are not solitary readers, lonely as we approach this text, but travellers upon a shared path.