Treasure: Lure of the Limerick

Amateur archaeologist Mark Brown presents his latest discoveries.
by Mark BROWN
 

lurelimerick.jpg

Dig site: Antique mall in downtown Lawrence, Kansas.

Retail value: Ten bucks.

Appeal: The first thing to catch me was this volume’s horizontal orientation; I was about fifteen feet away and it pulled my attention away from a bakelite Art Deco telephone. As I approached I latched on to the salmon and linen colors, and realized I’d have to thumb through its pages. I raised an eyebrow when I was close enough to discern the semi-nude illustration. When I read the title, The Lure of the Limerick, I suspected I’d be making a purchase.

This book chronicles the history of the limerick and provides hundreds of examples and dozens of illustrations. The topic is interesting and has mass appeal — we all love raunchy rhymes — but what really makes this book a treasure, that something that compelled me fork over ten dollars, was that this particular copy smells like cinnamon. Old books have a particular smell, and I was taken aback as I leaned in to take a whiff. Cinnamon! If all books could so stimulate the olfactory we’d be a literate nation.

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