05 September 2013

A Reading Incentive

Thriller author Chelsea Cain’s memory of summers in the children’s mystery section of her local library in Key West:
On weekends, when the grown-ups were around, we went to the beach or out on the water. I found a lot of 20-dollar bills floating in the ocean in those days. I used to take the limp wet cash to the T-shirt shop on Duval Street, and they’d press it dry with their decal iron until it looked brand new.

Twenties make excellent bookmarks. On Monday I’d be back at the library, another five books in my arms. I would read for hours, marking my favorite scenes with crisp 20s, before returning the books to the shelves.

Funny, what we don’t question in childhood. It was many years later that I realized that my windfall of floating cash had not been lost by careless swimmers, but instead dumped by smugglers about to be boarded by the Coast Guard. By then it was too late. I had already filled the library’s collection of Nancy Drew books with drug money.
That appeared in the New York Times Book Review in the spring.

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