Used Bookstore Finds: ‘This pen is gorgeous!’

Posted by @ 1:53 pm on May 21st, 2009


After the previous used bookstore finds post, Aaron Gilbreath emailed me to say that he was currently working on a project based on the many objects he had discovered during his time working at Powell’s Books in Portland. He offered to share a few of those objects with HTMLGIANT, and I told him to send in whatever he wanted. After the break are three found objects and the entries he has written about them:



A friend who works in the kid’s books department found this inside a children’s biography of JRR Tolkien. Being the self-involved creature that I am, I immediately thought of all the notes I wished I’d received from my middle school crushes, even if they were written in similarly blinding pink ink. I’m also a bit of the sentimental breed, so I kept most of the letters and cards and notes my (few) adult ex-girlfriends gave me. I have a bag full of them, shoved in a box in the garage where the black widows live. Somehow throwing them away feels akin to throwing away our shared memories, though maybe that’s a byproduct of my spotty memory requiring an external hard drive. My second thought upon seeing this note was: with a name like Marz Early, this kid was destined to receive far more lusty notes in high school. That’s a pure, Sunset Strip quality rock star name. Gritty glam, eyeliner-and-black-bandanas-as-bracelets grade stuff. If I played guitar and loved power chords, I would undoubtedly name my band Marz Early.

Here’s what the letter says if you can’t read it:

Do U, Marz Early, like my drawing of Breala (me)? I [heart] it! It is my first-ever drawing of a person that includes their ears, and it turns out much better! I have a volleyball game today—we suck! That should be interesting! This pen is gorgeous! I’m rambling! bye!
Love, luv,



One of the floor managers found this twisted, ignorant-ass, OJ case propaganda propped up against some horror books in the store’s Gold Room. It stood facing a direction that ensured customers getting on and off the elevator would see it. It likely fell out of a book, then a mischievous customer with a penchant for doing childishly incendiary things, much like myself, displayed it, because really, who would be printing fresh OJ vitriol in February 2004?


A coworker in the sports section of the store found this in a football book. Only true friends would make one of their own fellate a banana and record it. Reminds me of the time I watched a guy draw a penis in marker on some passed-out guy’s cheek at a teen keg party, and then another guy tapped him on the shoulder and said, “What the fuck are you doing?” That scene would have also made a fine, fine photo.


Thanks, Aaron, and good luck with the project.

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