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]

Rediscover Moby-Dick With This Beautifully Illustrated Limited-Edition Book

Waterbell/Ben Howe
Waterbell/Ben Howe

Book printer Waterbell is giving readers and art lovers alike a new reason to revisit Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick with these beautifully illustrated editions of the classic tale. Waterbell collaborated with artist Ben Howe to create these unique editions, which bring moody, fully painted artwork that's meant to capture the atmosphere of Melville's writing.

The different editions are available on Kickstarter, and there are a few ways to back this project. To start, $27 will get you the hardcover Collectable Edition, which features six full-page illustrations and illustrated endpapers. It’s all bound together in a jacket featuring a design by Howe.

For $166, you’ll receive the hardcover Limited Edition copy. Along with the same artwork found in the Collectable Edition, these books are hand-sewn, signed by the bookbinder, and numbered. For $3305, you’ll receive the original Burial at Sea painting featured in the book.

This isn’t Waterbell’s first time collaborating with artists to give the classics a fresh look. Other tales include Pride and Prejudice, Alice in Wonderland, and more. According to their website, only 1440 copies of their editions are created. The made-to-order books are meticulously crafted using a hammer to curve the spine, a needle and thread to bind the pages, and many other techniques.

Image from 'Moby-Dick' from Waterbell.
Waterbell/Ben Howe

Howe took an equally meticulous approach to create the artwork for Moby-Dick. He started by sculpting the subjects of his paintings out of clay, only to destroy the sculptures once the painting was complete.

With $1246 raised, the campaign still has a bit to go before reaching its $2645 goal, but you can help bring the project to life until March 18 by heading here.

Book cover of 'Moby-Dick.'
Waterbell/Ben Howe

If you can't quit the white whale, check out this special pop-up edition published around the time of Melville’s 200th birthday last year.

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Give Your Morning Coffee a Literary Flair With Mugs Decorated With Quotes From Edgar Allan Poe, the Brontë sisters, and More

In addition to individual author mugs, there are also mugs decorated with famous first and last lines from classic books.
In addition to individual author mugs, there are also mugs decorated with famous first and last lines from classic books.
Unemployed Philosophers Guild/Amazon

Give your coffee (or tea) a little literary flavor with one of these mugs designed by the Unemployed Philosophers Guild. For between $16 and $24, you can purchase a mug that features quotes from Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl, Kurt Vonnegut, or the Brontë sisters, along with designs inspired by the mood of their works. Dahl's mug, for example, is fittingly whimsical, with illustrations by his longtime visual collaborator Quentin Blake; meanwhile, Poe's dreary, macabre design perfectly sums up that first cup of coffee at the beginning of the work week.

All Unemployed Philosophers Guild mugs are microwavable, and most are dishwasher-safe. Plus, a portion of all proceeds goes to supporting a variety of charitable organizations. If you’re looking for even more bookish drinkware, you can try out a mug featuring famous first or last lines from literature.

Greatest first lines in literature coffee mug.
This mug features the first lines of novels like Catch-22, Gravity's Rainbow, and more.
Unemployed Philosophers Guild/Amazon

If books aren't your thing, don’t worry—the Unemployed Philosophers Guild also sells mugs decorated with mathematical formulas, presidential slogans, and instructions for tying knots.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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