A Patron Returned a Book to a Maryland Library Nearly 75 Years After It Was Due

Montgomery County Public Libraries
Montgomery County Public Libraries

The old adage "better late than never" applies to many things in life. Ask the librarian at your local library, and he or she will probably tell you that returning long-overdue books is one of them. As WLJA News in Washington, D.C. reports, a patron recently returned a book to the Silver Spring Library in Maryland 73 years after it was due.

A worn, illustrated copy of The Postman was, appropriately, mailed to the library with a letter attached. In it, a woman explained that her family had checked out the book in 1946 when she was just a toddler. "The family then moved to Canada on short notice and the book was packed up with everything else," the library wrote, summarizing the gist of her letter.

Even if she happened to forget where the book came from, she didn't have to look far. A stamp inside it reads "Property of Silver Spring Library," which is part of Maryland's Montgomery County Public Libraries system.

The inside of the book
Montgomery County Public Libraries

An illustration inside the book
Montgomery County Public Libraries

It's an especially rare find because the library no longer carries books by that particular author, Charlotte Kuh. Its value has likely increased with time, too. A copy of The Postman from 1929 is currently selling on Amazon for $29, and another book in the sames series from 1934 is available for $25.

Noble deeds like these make headlines from time to time. In 2017, Massachusetts's Attleboro Public Library received a copy of T.S. Arthur's The Young Lady at Home 78 years after it had been checked out. Likewise, a rare copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde had been "lost" for the same length of time, but was ultimately returned to the Chicago Public Library in 2012. The library's then-marketing director, Ruth Lednicer, said the woman who returned the book feared she'd be punished for coming forward.

"She kept saying, 'You’re not going to arrest me?'" Lednicer said, "and we said, 'No, we're so happy you brought it back.'" Like we said: It's never too late.

[h/t WLJA News]

Lost Sketches From The Little Prince Have Been Discovered in Switzerland

Oleksandr Samolyk, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Oleksandr Samolyk, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, published in 1943, has long been regarded as one of the most compelling books of the 20th century. Drawing upon Saint-Exupéry's own experiences in aviation, the book tells the tale of a pilot who crashes in the Sahara and befriends a little boy who claims to have come from outer space. The book is accompanied by a number of illustrations by Saint-Exupéry. Now, Smithsonian reports that some of the original preparatory sketches have surfaced.

According to France24.com, the sketches—of the titular Little Prince chatting with a fox, a boa constrictor devouring an elephant, and a character called the Tippler—were purchased at auction in 1986 by an art collector named Bruno Stefanini, who tucked them away in a folder. When Stefanini passed away in December 2018, the artwork—drawn on airmail paper—was uncovered by workers at his non-profit Foundation for Art, Culture, and History in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Aviator and 'The Little Prince' author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is photographed inside of an airplane cockpit in 1935
Aviator and The Little Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in 1935.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The organization intends to share its findings with the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, which currently houses the original book manuscript (including drafts of the book's most famous phrase, "What is essential is invisible to the eye") and 35 other sketches.

The Stefanini collection also includes a particularly personal piece of material. One of the sketches includes a love letter made out to Saint-Exupéry's wife while the pilot was in New York in 1942 following Germany’s invasion of France. It was there he wrote The Little Prince, which was published the following year. In 1944, Saint-Exupéry was shot down by a German pilot over the Mediterranean.

[h/t Smithsonian]

George R.R. Martin Doesn't Think Game of Thrones Was 'Very Good' For His Writing Process

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

No one seems to have escaped the fan fury over the finals season of Game of Thrones. While likely no one got it quite as bad as showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, even author George R.R. Martin—who wrote A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series upon which the show is based, faced backlash surrounding the HBO hit. The volatile reaction from fans has apparently taken a toll on both Martin's writing and personal life.

In an interview with The Guardian, the acclaimed author said he's sticking with his original plan for the last two books, explaining that the show will not impact them. “You can’t please everybody, so you’ve got to please yourself,” he stated.

He went on to explain how even his personal life has taken a negative turn because of the show. “I can’t go into a bookstore any more, and that used to be my favorite thing to do in the world,” Martin said. “To go in and wander from stack to stack, take down some books, read a little, leave with a big stack of things I’d never heard of when I came in. Now when I go to a bookstore, I get recognized within 10 minutes and there’s a crowd around me. So you gain a lot but you also lose things.”

While fans of the book series are fully aware of the author's struggle to finish the final two installments, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, Martin admitted that part of the delay has been a result of the HBO series, and fans' reaction to it.

“I don’t think [the series] was very good for me,” Martin said. “The very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day … I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.'"

Still, Martin has sworn that the books will get finished ... he just won't promise when.

[h/t The Guardian]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER