This weekend, among other things, ADG and I wandered into an ill-organized garage sale that, despite it’s disarray, had a fairly fascinating collection of books for sale. Many of them were political or historical in nature, some in the original Russian, some from what was probably a student of psychology’s bookshelf, several “classics”, and then a large stack of children’s books…though there was no sign, either in person or in the rest of the sale’s contents, that a child ever actually existed.

Books were a dollar a piece for paperback, two for hardcover, and offers welcome if the prices were somehow too steep. I bought five books for five dollars, four of which went home with me, and one with ADG… strangely being one she had been looking for in real bookstores but never found.

Of my new to me books, I just read Camus’ The Stranger, and upon reaching the back page, I found a note scrawled in cheap ballpoint-blue, bracketing the typical author’s biography like this:


ALBERT CAMUS was born in Mondovi,
Algeria in 1913. After winning a degree in
philosophy, he worked at various jobs…
…Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.
He was killed in an automobile acci-
dent on January 4th, 1960.

To Andrew:
A. Camus
I hope my letter of recommendation
helps you attain the college ofyour choice!

It hardly seems possible that Camus could have written this in 1979 when he died in 1960. The ink of the date being slightly darker than the ink of the inscription, however, suggests that it’s possible. This particular book was published in 1954, so there was still time for Albert to love and laugh and sign books for his friends before his death. Strange also, was a similarly scrawled note on the title page of the book; this time in red felt pen and in a different hand:


Class of 1983
[and then in blue] (Transfer student)

It would seem that the mysterious recommendation alluded to was successful, but would the possessor have really held on to both the letter and this book before using either 20 years later, and then inscribing their old book with their current college? Interesting, huh? Any theories?

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