Buying books in all kinds of second-hand or thrift stores brings not only a prickle of excitement connected with the possibility of coming across a rare title, first edition in hardback like new, or for the price of a mug of coffee from a popular chain, but also a deeper, subconscious expectation of a surprise of another kind. Every now and then it happens that in a newly purchased second-hand book we find an old cinema ticket, a page from a notebook with a few sentences scribbled on it or an unfinished poem, a drawing, a receipt. In other words, anything that its former owner left as a bookmark, which now, when we are comfortably seated in a tube carriage, beginning to browse through the purchased title, manifests itself between its pages. Those of a romantic nature, with the element of magical thinking, will define such findings as signs; those who are more pragmatic, but not lacking inclinations towards sudden outpourings of imagination − little windows into someone’s everyday life. And what would you say to a filled lotto coupon discovered years ago in a book from a second-hand book store?
Do you sense encouragement from fortune, Providence, a mysterious half-smile of the universe? Then go ahead! Use it! Play, win, become rich! Find for yourselves if a card in such a deal is, as Pynchon calls it, an intrusion into this world from another, a kiss of cosmic pool balls, or merely an illusory belief in the supernatural character of the most ordinary piece of paper.