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Fill In the Blanks

We’ve had an interesting supply of books for our Blank category over the past couple of weeks. This, as you may recall, is a fairly new category, in about its third Book Fair. It’s a resting place for all those personal journals, travel journals, notebooks, notepads, empty photo albums, three-ring binders, clipboards, and other such supplies. In the days of the Mystery Book Fair, we called this section Do-it-Yourself Mysteries. I can’t say that any of our customers went home with purchases from this area and wrote an Edgar-winning detective novel, but I can’t say they didn’t, either.

We’ve had some classy little personal journals come in, some completely blank and some with one line on an opening page and nothing to follow. One lovely soul gave us four leather-covered albums for travel photos, along with a couple of leather travel wallets. These were accompanied by four travel journals with big pages and magnetic covers. (I don’t understand personal journals with tiny pages: are these for people of few words? Don’t those people just Tweet, without bothering with paper.)

And someone gave us one of those books that should possibly have been kept at home.

It is a Reader’s Journal, according to the words on the cover: a book for writing down your thoughts on your literary pursuits. There is a space on each page for the title, author, and a page of notes for your reflections. The reader in question started out with a fine bit of autobiography, which was read in just three days in April of 1991. Oh, yes, by the way, there is a space for putting down the date when the book was read. This was unfortunate for the donor.

She (I’m guessing from the handwriting and the books chosen) had no observations to make on that book, so the rest of the page is blank. Her next choice was a travel book, which she read in just four days. In August. Her notes indicate the location of the narrative, and that’s about it. The next book is a novel, the author of which she could not recall, which she actually read two weeks before that travel book. She has no observations on this book either.

The next entry, on the following page, is quite a well-known collection of short stories, and she has noted which one she especially noticed. I noticed the date: March, 1994. Well, maybe she misplace the journal and started over. The book on the next page was recommended to her by a friend of hers. She read it in May of 1996. There follow four pages with titles on them. Maybe she read these books and had nothing to say; maybe she read them but didn’t write them down until much later, or maybe she intended to read them, but never got around to it.

The next dated entry is for a well thought-of novel, which she read in February of 2001. She then read a good solid mystery novel in 2004. And that is the last entry in the book.

Maybe I’m taking too much for granted. She could have been a doctor too busy saving lives to read. She may have had an allergy to printing ink, and had to wait for her hands to recover between books.

Or, most likely, she was simply having too much fun reading to waste time writing down what she thought about it all. Come buy the book and make up your own story, or use it yourself.

When you donate it back, with the rest of the pages full of remarks about the books you bought at the Fair, I promise to blog nicely about you.

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