...from Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
At first Caroline had seen the job of used-book buyer as a stepping-stone to the more exciting world of the new releases displayed at the front of the store, their words freshly printed, their meanings clean as new sheets. But she quickly realized she had an affinity for the older books and their muted scents of past dinners and foreign countries, the tea and chocolate stains coloring the phrases. You could never be certain what you would find in a book that had spent time with someone else. As Caroline had riffled through the pages looking for defects, she had discovered an entrance ticket to Giverny, a receipt for thirteen bottles of champagne, a to-do list that included, along with groceries and dry cleaning, the simple reminder: "buy a gun." Bits of life tucked like stowaways in between the chapters. Sometimes she couldn't decide which story she was most drawn to.