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What I found inside Marco Polo's Silk Road

I've mentioned this book in my last two Monday reading reports, and commenters have been showing some interest in it, so I figured I would review it. First, however, I thought I'd mention what I found inside it. The review will come once I have finished reading it.

I buy most of my books second hand, at a rather marvellous charity shop not far from where I live. Since the shop lies between my home and the two supermarkets where I do most of my grocery shopping, I often stop by there on my way to buy groceries.

Sometimes I come out empty handed, but occasionally I emerge with a stack of books, or a bag of yarn, a new-old handbag or some other "necessity" of life.

Because most of the books are second hand, I often find stuff inside them. Most often it's a bookshop receipt, but sometimes I'll find a boarding pass or a handwritten note, a postcard or a purpose-made bookmark. On this particular occasion I found three items inside: a bookmark, a paper tag and a printout of an email with a content list for what I assume to be a home-made cosmetic. Here are the bookmark and the tag:

 The tag reads: "A Christmas book" and was given away with books at a local bookshop around Christmas a few years back. You can also see one of sumptuous background graphics that grace many pages of the book.

I like the cheekiness of this label. I think it came from a handbag rather than an item of clothing. I intend to add a ribbon to it and use it as a bookmark to remind myself that sometimes there is no shame in buying what you want.

It turns out that three place-markers are actually necessary when reading this book if one intends to get the most out of the experience, as the text is heavily peppered with endnote references. There are also photographs on many of the pages but none of the photos are labelled, so if you want to know what you're looking at, you need to refer to a list at the back of the book. Bookmarks are useful for this when the book is resting, but I use my fingers to keep my place in the endnotes while I am reading, and have decided to just enjoy the photos as they come for now and check up on the references later.


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