In the opening scene of The Bookman’s Tale, antiquarian bookseller Peter Byerly opens an eighteenth-century book and out flutters a small Victorian watercolor that bears a remarkable resemblance to his late wife, Amanda. This discovery sets Peter on the journey of the book. In my own days as an antiquarian bookseller, I found all sorts of unexpected things between the pages of old books—postcards, flowers, cash, even two letters written by Winston Churchill. But the most remarkable find I ever made in that respect was, like Peters’s discovery, something that had little value but was deeply personal. I was researching a book about my mother, who died when I was two years old. I was trying to find ways to connect to her over all the years that had passed since her death. At the time, my father and step-mother were moving and the house I had grown up in was for sale. I thought it would be interesting to walk through the empty house—to see it the same way my mother had first seen it. In the basement was a room my father had used as a study and the steel shelves lining the walls were empty. On a whim, I ran my hand across the unseen top of the cases and discovered a book that had been left behind. When I opened it up, what I saw within nearly took my breath away. The book was a battered French textbook that my mother had used in high school. She had written her name and the name of her then boyfriend on many pages along with other doodles. But most stunning was the fact that she had blotted her lipstick on the endpapers. There, thirty-five years after her death was the bright red imprint of my mother’s lips. It was a stunning moment of connection. I still have that book. It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but it is very special to me. It’s worth looking carefully through old books not just for the words on the pages, but for the secrets that may lie between the pages. Look what it did for Peter Byerly. And for me.