Friday, November 26, 2010

Found, and Found II, by Davy Rothbart

Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World

Found II: More of the Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World  Ever find a random grocery list and wonder about the person who wrote it?  Read a neglected apology letter and wonder what sins for which it was begging forgiveness?  See a long lost photo and make up a story about the people in it?  If you answered yes to any of those, or wished you could have, then these are the books for you.  These books take lost scraps of paper containing lists, pictures, poems, letters, term papers, notes, and more, and try to determine where they came from, and why.

It all started with someone putting a note on the wrong car.  The author found a note on his car one night, obviously intended for someone else with a similar car, and immediately wondered about the person who left it.  This sparked an interest that led to looking at other "found" items, which led to a magazine of "found" items, which in turn led to books.  Of course, the whole thing is terribly voyeuristic.  And really really fascinating.

These are the kind of books you can look at on a Monday, and ponder one way, then look at again on Thursday, and ponder in a whole new light.  It is not quite art, but brilliant none the less.  I love these books, because they remind us all of ourselves, things we have written or drawn, or seen.  Silly things we have done in life.  Sad stories we have heard.  This is humanity in raw form.  It is sort of hipster anthropology.

This is a great couple of books for your coffee table, useful as conversation pieces, or the 'just for fun' shelf of your bookcase.  Perfect for when you have had too much Austen, not enough wine, and a non-existent romantic life.  The books will make you laugh, make you frown, make you feel shocked and disturbed, and make you come back for more.  Trust me, these books are best bought as a set.  Because once you have one, you will want the other.

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