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Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller's Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages

3.51  ·  Rating Details  ·  843 Ratings  ·  227 Reviews
It's happened to all of us: we're reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab the closest thing at hand to mark our spot. It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photograph, or a four-leaf clover. Eventually the book finds its way into the world-a library, a flea market, other people's bookshelves, or to a used bookstore. But what becomes of thos ...more
Hardcover, 182 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by TarcherPerigee
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PostSecret by Frank WarrenA Lifetime of Secrets by Frank WarrenPostSecret by Frank WarrenMy Secret by Frank WarrenPassive Aggressive Notes by Kerry Miller
Found, Submitted
6th out of 57 books — 31 voters
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern1Q84 by Haruki MurakamiThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWittThe Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison AllenThe American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
Best Cover Art 2011 (Non-YA)
115th out of 292 books — 1,635 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 21, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Shelves: bibliophile, ephemera
This is a book from the guy who blogs about the "weird" things he finds in books as a bookseller. And yet, the things he chooses to highlight in this book are a bit, well, boring. BORING. It is broken into sections and organized well, but lacks contemporary entries. Working in a library, we are often amazed at what we find in the books and none of it is boring. I think this is too serious of an effort.

Here are some of the items I have found in books returned to the library where I work:

Robert Zimmermann
Aug 08, 2016 Robert Zimmermann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: signed
I received this book as an early Christmas gift from my girlfriend the other day after hinting about it for awhile. After discovering Michael's "Forgotten Bookmarks" blog sometime over the summer, I wanted nothing more than to get this book. I always enjoyed logging into facebook or pulling up the blog and seeing another "bookmark" found that day. It is also great to see that I am not the only one interested in what is left in books from previous owners. Not too long before finding the blog, I c ...more
Jul 15, 2012 Tara rated it liked it
This book intrigued me, having worked in a used book store before, and having been in the antiques business. It is a fascinating look into the past, at what ephemera gets left behind in books. The fun part was matching the "bookmark" with the book. For instance, in Freud's book Totem and Taboo, a customer card with rules and regulations for a strip club was found. This one made me laugh out loud. But then there are the heartbreaking letters to loved ones that never got sent, or the retyped "A Pr ...more
Aug 26, 2012 Traci rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful little find! I've had this on a to-be-read list forever, and while at work yesterday at our main branch, decided it was about time I check it out. If you love history, you'll love this book. Yes, there are some "modern" finds here, too, but the majority of the items presented here are from the early 1900s, if not earlier (some date back to the 1800s!).

Popek has done a wonderful job of simply showing what he's found. There is a picture of the item, sometimes a translation/typed
Jan 27, 2016 Alicia rated it really liked it
It's everything you thought it would be. A collection of what's left inside books from a bookseller's collection from letters to receipts and more. I like that the letters and writing is typed out alongside it while the photocopy/reprint of the actual letters is there as well to make the connection. It's amazing and curious and wonderfully romantic just don't get within range of my nails to scratch your eyes out (one of my favorite lines from an angry letter!)

And of course the local connections
Jan 26, 2015 Zulfiya rated it really liked it
I do not scrapbook, neither do I like reading someone's, but this book offered such an interesting excursus into the lives of people who read books that I could not resist the temptation and checked it out ... and read it in one big sitting/lying down session.

Book readers know that we use nearly everything as a bookmark. I am currently using my accident report issued by Springdale police as an Infinite Jest bookmark. Luckily, this is my copy, and I have no intention donating it or reselling i
May 15, 2013 Diane rated it liked it
This is a pictorial collection of items found in used books. Michael Popek runs a used bookshop in New York and started keeping a blog about the odd items he found in books, such as personal letters, photographs, drawings, poems, receipts, dog tags (!) and even some money. I spent an enjoyable 20 minutes paging through this book.
Gary Anderson
Jan 21, 2013 Gary Anderson rated it really liked it
We’ve all done it without a thought. Before pausing in a book, we grab what is nearest and put it between the pages. Maybe it serves as a bookmark for our reading’s duration, or maybe we never pick up the book again. Either way, the erstwhile bookmark stays with the book. Then the book leaves us with that serendipitous bit still resting inside, only to eventually find its way to another owner.

Michael Popek’s Forgotten Bookmarks is an illustrated collection of what Popek has found tucked within b
May 01, 2012 Grace rated it it was amazing
This includes a cemetery girl photo, a photo of a woman reading, and a photo of a closed coffin, all found in old books, if you know me, you know I love this stuff! This is an amazing book that reminds me of all the interesting things I've found in old books! I could write a long review of this, but I'll just say, this book is fantastic and if you love old books, you have to read this! I hope there are more books like this! The past is fascinating and is more so when there's mystery and unanswer ...more
Jan 22, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing
Very cool! Thank you Jenifer!
Feb 23, 2012 Melinda rated it it was amazing
As an avid bookmark collector and a fan of Popek's website I was given this book for Christmas. Michael Popek is a used and rare bookseller and he posts photos and explanations of the emphemera he finds in the books he obtains. This book is a compilation of some of those finds. Fascinating and fun!
Dec 25, 2013 Stephen rated it liked it
Although this book was not the most interesting presentation of this kind of material, this is a never-ending fun topic! I owned a bookstore for a couple of years and the things you see are amazing:

- small handbill for a U.S. Army base movie theatre schedule in Italy from the 1960s (Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines)
- pressed flower, dried and long forgotten
- wax lips, smushed flat, still in cello wrapper
- bookmarks for eugenics meetings in the 1920s
- a lady's application for her p
Mar 25, 2012 Sally rated it really liked it
I want to find a supply of old books and go through them for the same kind of treasures that this book seller found in books he purchased. People use interesting things as bookmarks. He found letters dating back over 200 years, photos of all ages including daguerretypes (misspelled, but oh, well), contracts, birth certificates, recipes, advertisements and so much more. One I loved was a handwritten invitation that says
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
At 7:30 prompt on Wednesday evening be prepared to
Andrea Blythe
Aug 17, 2012 Andrea Blythe rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Michael Popek has been involved with his parents used book store for most of his life. Over the years, he's found a multitude of bookmarks left behind in the used books sold to his store, from old photographs to letters, receipts, gift cards, and advertisements to razor blades. He describes the experience of finding these things as leaving him with "a lingering wonder, a sense of misplaced nostalgia, a touch of the voyeuristic thrill that comes from peeping into someone else's life."

Popek has sh
May 31, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Bookseller Michael Popek often finds odd items that were once used as bookmarks in the books he handles as a bookseller. After finding a marijuana leave used as a bookmark in a cookbook and sharing a photo of this with friends decided in 2007 to start a blog ( This book is a collection of some of the items listed in the blog. The book has images of the “bookmark” and the book along with transcriptions of the written material as it appears and occasionally a fe ...more
Mar 26, 2012 Victoria rated it really liked it
As a bookworm, I found this book to be an enjoyable way to spend an evening. Although I have seen the author's blog before, I am not an avid reader of it and thus I did not have the same criticisms of the items included in the book that others seem to have. As a historian, I loved seeing how the random ephemera of our lives can be preserved accidentally, although my favorites are when the "bookmark" had an obvious connection to the material. While I like that Popek allows the reader to interpret ...more
Emily Goenner
Mar 16, 2014 Emily Goenner rated it liked it
Several of the reviews I read express disappointment in this book, and I agree in part. The sections on letters, notes, photos, and cards are wonderful and fascinating. The receipts and ads were less interesting. Still, a nice peak into lost worlds and forgotten stories.
Sheena  at Hot Eats and Cool Reads
This book was not as interesting as I thought it would be. I expected it to have more funny and crazy stuff rather than old photos and papers. The recipes were cool because I love cooking but I felt it was kind of boring otherwise except a few random things throughout. I work for my Mom here and there, who sells used books, and the stuff I've found in books has been pretty freaking cool. Maybe I need to add a blog post here and there of the cool stuff I've found! This book is worth looking throu ...more
Helen White
Dec 23, 2015 Helen White rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, art
Fab little book about some of the odd thing left in books s bookmarks. Highlights include the razor blades,hair net of human hair and a 1918 letter from a soldier during training. Quirky
Naomi V
Jan 17, 2012 Naomi V rated it liked it
Recommends it for: my book-crazy friends
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
this book fascinated me for a number of reasons, not least of which is that i frequently put things into books and forget about them. it's also an interesting look at other people's lives. what were they doing when they read that book? now you know.

and because the author deals in antique books, there are many really old items here. photos from the first world war, old-fashioned cards, handmade pictures... for some of the items, he was able to offer some additional biographical information. a fu
Kara Johnson
Mar 26, 2014 Kara Johnson rated it really liked it
This was interesting, but I found myself skimming the notes and such that were actually found in the books. I was more interested in some of the books themselves, such as a version of "Black Beauty" that was published in 1905, that appears to have been written using only "words of one syllable". What?! How is that even possible? I have to find out more about THAT!

Also, as an editor at heart, I was a little disappointed that there was no connection made between items that were possibly related. O
Amy Campbell
May 08, 2013 Amy Campbell rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, read-2013
This was a very enjoyable book. It lets you have the feeling on snooping on other peoples lives while not actually doing anything wrong. I enjoyed reading other peoples letters and getting to make the back story up for myself. People sure do leave odd things in books!
Jun 02, 2016 Carlos rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction-btr
Boring ...
Not one interesting thing discussed here, could have been presented in a more interesting way . But I'll give 2 stars because the content is consistent with the title, now I know why these people "forgot" those bookmarks, they were useless .
Jan 18, 2014 Corey rated it really liked it
I saw this book on display at the NYPL and was drawn to it because of its title. We are all of us guilty of stuffing something at some point into a book as a makeshift bookmark, only to unearth it months or years later and enjoy a moment of recollection over the discovery. Michael Popek is afforded this opportunity all the time as the owner of a used book shop, and he has collected some of his more memorable discoveries in this charming book. Some of the bookmarks have no relationship at all to ...more
Jan 12, 2012 Mia rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-books
I wanted to really like this... but overall I wasn't impressed by the "oddness" of the bookmarks. They all seemed pretty ordinary to me.
Jun 19, 2013 Lyn rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lyn by: Lea
I found this to be very entertaining. It makes me want to start leaving random "bookmarks" in books that I borrow or pass on.
Sep 08, 2012 Wendy rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fic
Spotted numerous errors in the transcriptions of messages- did nobody proofread this thing?!
Apr 04, 2012 Kirby rated it it was amazing
I love this peek between the pages. It makes me smile. . .and has also given me some story ideas.
Jan 26, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it
What a fun little book! I will have to check out the author's blog.
Feb 10, 2014 Sandy rated it liked it
Shelves: library, nonfiction
3.5 stars
I loved the concept of this book. A scrapbook of the interesting finds that Michael came across while working as the manager in his family’s book selling business. Taking my magnifying glass, I loved looking at all the details in the photographs that were contained inside this book. The still smoldering photos of Mount Pelee that covered two pages captivated me with its devastation and bleakness. Simple text scratched on the back of each photo relaying the feelings at the moment. Found
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Michael Popek is the 34 year-old manager of a family-run used and rare bookstore in Oneonta, N.Y. He has been in the book business since junior high school, when his father bought a vanload of used books at an auction and decided to see if there was any money to be made off them. Since then, his family has built a successful used-book business that combines a brick-and-mortar location with an onli ...more
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