Encounter at a Party Store

tonquish tales volume2Tonquish Tales

This one is my submission. This book came out of our local history collection and was written by a local resident. The book is a compilation of some local legends and stories that were originally published as columns in the local papers during the late 1960s and 1970s. It’s a good choice for our library and I wouldn’t necessarily weed it.

A “helpful” patron decided to use the white space to talk about her brief encounter with the author at a local party store. For nineteen pages, our book defacer recounts, in detail, her encounter with the author at a local party store. Topics included the author’s purchase of Slimfast, pantyhose, spilled coffee, cleaning gutters, and the onset of dementia.  I have seen quite a few defaced books in my time, but I think this one takes the cake for the commitment to creating a 19 page narrative within the margins and other white spaces throughout the book.

Yet another story for the local history collection.



cover story

Detroit and Potawatomi




  1. Wow! That’s spectacular.

    I enjoy finding used books with annotations that tell about the owners the book has had over the years. I call these ‘story books’.

    This is a great ‘story book’ and I’d buy it in a flash but it doesn’t belong in a circulating collection. I hope it’s possible to get a new copy because the legends do sound interesting in themselves.

  2. It is fun to find written notes in books, a window into another life. On the other hand, the sheer egotism needed to deface a book with your own words is startling.

  3. I hope you were able to clean up the book or get a replacement copy? That’s a lousy thing to do to a book. Poor writing, spelling and grammar aside.

    1. There are several low-priced used copies on Amazon, some signed by the author. Even though I agree with you that no one should deface a book, I think I’d have been fascinated to discover this one on the shelves.

  4. Why wouldn’t that person just write this account on a piece of notebook paper and stick it in the book? I doubt the author would have wanted the fan to deface the book.

      1. Yeah, I feel like it was done out of dislike for the author and a desire to humiliate her, honestly. Either that or unbridled egotism, like another comment suggests. The submission says the defacer went on like this for 19 pages! That’s pretty extreme.

        1. Indeed. There’s nothing at all wrong with annotating your /own/ copy of a book. But annotating a library book that’s not yours to deface…

  5. I like the FOUR uses of the word “eccentric” in regards to the book author. Nice bit of projection there.

  6. I love it. We place too much emphasis on an imagined godliness of books, and then let most rot on our shelves for years or even decades, so how much does that respect the author – it is like buying a great painting and hiding it in your basement. As the author is local and the book still readable, it has become something with relevance to that local community.

    1. I don’t think having this other person’s writing will improve its chances of being read, unless they wrote on the spine or cover. As to relevance in the library’s community, this _specific_ book I fear would attract evil minded persons intent on malice.

    2. It’s a library book, it’s unfair and wrong to deface a library book because that belongs to the tax payers and it’s no different than if you wrote on a public building or destroyed playground equipment.

  7. One of my favorite books was a paperback copy of *Pride and Prejudice*, a version obviously used in a high school classroom. The Annotator had recorded her boredom with the people and the plot from the beginning, especially Darcy, though she began to show a little appreciation of the funny bits over time and was fully on board with hating Lady De Bourgh. But at Darcy’s first proposal, she nearly dug through the page with exclamations and underlines, and the whole rest of her journey was one of joyful rapture.
    Unfortunately, the book was poorly made and fell to pieces through my frequent re-readings. I’m sorry for that; I miss my young friend. Ever since, I have had another reason for preferring to buy used text-books!

    1. I found a paperback copy of The Age of Innocence in my family’s summer house, probably picked up at one of the local library book sales. It was annotated by a very grumpy young person, with notations such as “Do not read this book unless you want to be bored silly!” I immediately absconded with it.

  8. Party stores carry Slim Fast?

    I think this reads like one very bored person deciding to make up a weird rambling story for kicks in a book they figured no one would ever read.

  9. Or by some nosy mean busybody who spends all her time stalking her neighbors. I really dislike the lady who defaced the book.

  10. I hate, hate, HATE when people write in library books. I had to discard a local history book where someone underlined entire paragraphs and wrote in RED PEN!

    I remember once reading a book called Those Who Hunt The Night from the library, one of those alternate universe books where vampires are real and live openly among humans set in Victorian England. The author mentioned a refrigerated warehouse and someone wrote a LONG diatribe about how “fridges didn’t exist then” (I looked it up, technically, they did) and someone else came along and wrote about how they agreed with them.

    In a book – where there’s VAMPIRES! VAMPIRES! And they’re arguing about the invention of refrigeration in a LIBRARY book!

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