It is almost, but not quite, completely unlike tea.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A mystery, solved!

I love a good book.  I tend to over-buy just a bit when it comes to books (as my shelves of not-yet-read volumes amply illustrates).  I usually stay out of the old books, though, not knowing that much about them.  One book that I've had for several years has always been a bit of an enigma for me, though.  It's a slim paperback volume titled "The Pocket Book of Verse."  Mine is a first printing from 1940, but it is in remarkably good condition for such an old paperback(!).  I have read many of the poems within it, and I always wondered if this copy had a story to tell.  Since it was produced in 1940, I imagined that it might have accompanied a young GI on his travels across the European continent.  Alas, the only written note to be found in the entire book is a single word on the title page: "Poetry."  Thanks, guys, really helpful.  Today I hit a jackpot though, while doing research on a bunch of books I'm trying to tell.  I googled for the exact title, and found a page dedicated to this very book.  What more could you ask for?  It turns out that the book was a white-hot seller from the moment it was released, selling through 23 print runs in 5 years.  It was also a hot commodity among GIs, especially those confined to POW camps during the war.  Mystery solved -- my guess about the book's past was probably correct.  A history book is a fine thing, but a book with a history is even more interesting.