When I was younger I did not give much consideration to remarkable and inspiring lines in books that I’ve been reading back then. At best I had noticed and admired the sudden boost of inspiration that one short line of text could trigger in me, but it was all very transitory. By the time I had finished the chapter or the book I would have forgotten that line of text or a quote and would leave it at that.

Today, as I was reading a book and I came across an interesting and motivating line. I took a break for a moment to think about it and to contemplate on why and how it relates to me. I sought to write it down and put a few of my thoughts alongside it, outside of the context of the book. But, I was in my bed and too lazy to get up. I did have a pencil within my hand’s reach, so I stretched for it, took it and decided to extract the line on the last white page in the book in light and small handwriting so that I could copy it elsewhere later and erase it afterwards from the book. I should note that the book is old and that it was printed in 1987.

When I turned the book to the rear white page, I was surprised to see that something was already written there. I had certain difficulty reading it, I must admit, since the graphite is now very pale and unclear, and the writing was in a very rough written script, but I did manage to read it. It was also a line from the book. An interesting statement, which is funny when read in its context in the chapter, but alone and extracted and bare it wasn’t really noteworthy. I thought something like: “Whoever wrote it there had thought that it would be”. As I finished that thought, another came along. A question this time: “Is mine really that interesting and noteworthy?” Who knows? I wrote it down under the first one, expressed a few thoughts alongside it with today’s date and continued reading.

This particular book is twenty five years old at present. Even if the first line was written when the book was as half as old as today, that still means that my entry to the last white page is more than a decade after the first. With a bit of luck, the book will still be in one piece in ten to fifteen years for someone else to write a new entry to its last page and date it.

I have decided that from now on, whenever I come across an old print of a book, I will take a look at its front and rear white pages and covers for excerpts and use that as another positive factor in deciding whether or not I ought to read it.