When a local Maine library was destroyed in a fire, artist Elizabeth Awalt drove over and saw something quite surreal:

[H]undreds of scorched pages flying around. Only the edges were burned resembling pieces of toast or even tombstones but the center of the pages were intact. She started picking up the pages, from Jean de Brunoff’s Babar, Edward Gorey, and more. She was deeply moved by these pages and remarked on how much a part of her own life these books had been. Elizabeth thought she might paint on some of them or give some to other Maine artists to paint.

These pages turned into a benefit auction of works from the pages she’d recovered that day. Not of the reading room sort, this marginalia is another — from E.B. White to a novel of the Mexican War, the loose leaves are quite stunning, especially all at once.

[Image: A piece from the wall of Swan’s Island residents’ pages]

Note: The Swan’s Island Library is still taking donations.

(thx, john)