Posts Tagged ‘Ants’
Be careful what you use as a bookmark. Thousands of dollars, a Christmas card signed by Frank Baum, a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card, a marriage certificate from 1879, a baby’s tooth, a diamond ring and a handwritten poem by Irish writer Katharine Tynan Hickson are just some of the stranger objects discovered inside books by AbeBooks.com booksellers.
I recently opened a secondhand book and an airline boarding pass from Liberia in west Africa to Fort Worth, Texas, fell to the floor. Was there a story behind this little slip of paper? Was someone fleeing from a country ravaged by two civil wars since 1989? I will never know, but used and rare booksellers discover countless objects – some mundane, some bizarre, some deeply personal – inside books as they sort and catalog books for resale.
Adam Tobin, owner of Unnameable Books in Brooklyn, New York, has created a display inside his bookstore dedicated to objects discovered in books.
“It’s a motley assortment,” he said. “We’ve been doing it for about two years since opening the store. The display quickly took over the back wall and now it’s spreading to other places, and there’s a backlog of stuff that we haven’t put up yet. There are postcards, shopping lists, and concert tickets but my favorites are the cryptic notes. They are often deeply personal and can be very moving.”
Used booksellers often take ownership of books that have been in a family or a household for decades or even generations. “It’s easy to find things in books that are very dated,” explained Adam,” Such as a newspaper advert for elastic bands from the 19th century. My personal favorite is an ad from the 1950s that reads ‘Rinsing Dacron Curtains in Milk Makes Them Crisp, Stiff, Just Like New.’”
The most valuable item discovered by Adam is a letter written by C.S. Lewis - author of the Narnia series – but his monetary finds have been limited to a $1 note now pinned to the display.
Eager to learn more, AbeBooks.com asked its booksellers to reveal their finds. You might be surprised to learn what people will leave inside a book…
Discover this buried treasure at “Things Found in Books.”
[TotH to @MartyKrasney]
* E.O. Wilson
As we rifle through the volumes in our libraries, we might might recall that it was on this date in 1887 that there occured an event that would surely have warmed Dr. Wilson’s heart: an enormous “rain of ants” at Nancy in France.; “most of them were wingless” (Nature, 36-349.. as quoted in Charles Fort’s The Book of the Damned).
Just as one begins to feel self-satisfied about the dominance of humanity on earth, and the degree of interconnectedness afforded by Facebook, Twitter, and the like, this from the BBC:
A single mega-colony of ants has colonised much of the world, scientists have discovered.
Argentine ants living in vast numbers across Europe, the US and Japan belong to the same inter-related colony, and will refuse to fight one another. The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination.
While ants are usually highly territorial, those living within each super-colony are tolerant of one another, even if they live tens or hundreds of kilometres apart. Each super-colony, however, was thought to be quite distinct.
But it now appears that billions of Argentine ants around the world all actually belong to one single global mega-colony.
Read the entire story here.
As we contemplate connection (and redouble our efforts to emulate E.M. Forster), we might recall that it was on this date in 1957 that young Paul McCartny attended a church picnic at which a newly-formed band, the Quarrymen, were playing between sets, McCartney played a couple of tunes on the guitar for the group and its leader, John Lennon, who invited McCartney to join. McCartney did, but was slow to serious commitment (Paul missed his first gig, as he had a scout outing to attend).
Still, the group gained a following, changed its name to Johnny and the Moondogs, and recruited McCartney’s friend George Harrison. After bassist Stu Sutcliffe joined, they changed the name again, to the Silver Beetles, then finally to the Beatles. Tommy Moore joined the band as drummer and was replaced by Pete Best in 1960. After a tour to Germany in 1961, Sutcliffe left the band to become a painter (a scant year before he died of a brain hemorrhage), and the band returned to Liverpool. In 1962, five years after Lennon and Mccartney found each other, they found Ringo; Best left the band; the Fab Four–McCartney, Lennon, Harrison, and Starr–recorded “Love Me Do”… and the rest is history.
McCartney and Lennon in the Quarrymen (source: Dull Neon/Random Notes)