i went this afternoon to the multi-story warehouse that is john k. king used & rare books' downtown location (not, notably, their wayne state campus location). i was prompted by maga_dogg's mention of the garden of forking paths the other day in his interesting look at choose-your-own-adventure novels to remedy my library's failure to have a copy of ficciones (yes, i can find it online, but see above), along with a couple other books i'd been wanting to look for. now it was far too sunshiny of an afternoon for this story, but it was dim enough in the stacks, and some stormclouds rolled in as i browsed, bringing the occasional low rumble and an announcement over the loudspeakers, "staff, it's raining. make sure to check your windows."
there was a copy of ficciones on the shelf, but naturally i was curious to see what other borges works they had. upon examining the copy of the 1962 collection labyrinths, i was stunned. the book i was holding in my hands was ex libris kathryne v. lindberg. i was quite overcome. i don't know what the v stands for, but it appears to have been a fundamental part of her identity, as she included it in both her signature on the bastard title page and on the title page, which, judging by the script, were penned on occasions many years apart. there's not a lot in the way of marginalia, and what there is is restricted to underlining and stress marks -- no words. but i'll include one line which someone had emphasized with pencil: "for in the beginning of literature is the myth, and in the end as well."
after adding michigan's sales tax of six percent to the price listed on the bastard title page, the book cost me $4.77.
and in one of those typical coincidences, as i drove north on woodward, many blocks away from the bookstore, to go to the library afterward, i saw, standing on the sidewalk, having very recently exited their vehicle, a group of three individuals (parents with daughter, i'd guess) whom i'd noticed lounging in chairs near the cashier's counter while i waited to check out (the store had not been particularly crowded), clearly bent on dining or doing additional shopping.