Thursday, August 9, 2012

Unanswerable Questions

Sometimes, when I read an old book, or rather an old, used copy of a book, I find myself wondering about the book's earlier, or I should say earliest readers. For example I'm currently reading a copy of Louisa May Alcott's Under the Lilacs which came out in 1905.

I wonder about the first person, who was, I assume, perhaps erroneously, a young girl, who read this particular copy. Where did she live? What else was going on in her life? What games did she play? What were her friends like? Did she enjoy school, or was school a struggle for her? Did she have a yard or a garden with a lilac bush, and actually read this book under the lilacs? Or did she sigh wistfully, and wish she knew how lilacs smell?