Write a Nice Letter and Leave it in a Book for a Stranger to Find

I first learned of this idea on a “Kind Acts” suggestion page on Google. Afterward, I experienced the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon — when you hear of something once and afterward, it seems as if you keep hearing about it — when multiple readers told me they already did or want to follow through with this idea.

As an English major, who absolutely loves to read and considers spending hours in “Barnes & Noble” to be heaven, I found the idea of leaving a nice note in a book for a stranger to find ideal.

I’d been putting this one off for a bit because I didn’t know what to say in the note or what book I would leave it in. Then the other day, I decided to just go for it; one of my all-time favorite books is “Wuthering Heights,” so I figured I would personalize the note toward that book, grabbed a pink piece of paper and, once I started writing, began rambling on for nearly a full page.  You guys can read this sporadic rant in the photos above.

I folded up the note, brought it with me, and after I went to buy flowers for another bucket list project, decided to stop at Barnes & Noble, where I carried out the task. I asked a worker where I could find a copy of Wuthering Heights and she directed me to the classics section.

It’s funny how sometimes when trying to do a nice thing, you feel sneaky or like a thief. I grabbed the book and walked down one of the aisles where no one seemed to be hanging out, so a store clerk wouldn’t wonder why the heck I was slipping a piece of paper that might be litter into a book.

Unfortunately, some forethought might have been better, but because I’m a put-the-circle-in-the-square kind of girl, I didn’t consider how I should’ve written the note on a much smaller piece of paper that didn’t need to be folded. While I tried to fold it as best I could, so someone wouldn’t notice when buying or selling the book, it was so big that it still stuck out a bit.

Even so, I figured that if a store clerk finds it, all he or she can do is think it’s a nice idea and maybe keep the note for himself or herself, unless it gets thrown out first. Still, I hope to continue writing these notes in the future, maybe for some books at the school library, as I think it’s a nice concept; at least I know I would enjoy finding a nice note in a library or store-bought book.

So has anyone else done something similar or want to add this one to his or her bucket list? I’d love to hear from you guys!

And just a reminder that there’s currently an August Giveaway going on, so please check it out if you want to enter to win fun prizes!

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195 Responses to Write a Nice Letter and Leave it in a Book for a Stranger to Find

  1. cyril says:

    Reblogged this on WordPress Blogs Reblogging Site and commented:

      • My husband, who is an avid reader says he is going to do this! He loves the art of letter writing too as well as art and home-spun gifts! He is the hands on artsy type. 🙂 He paints beautifully too . So this is right up his alley. Funny we were just talking about the lost oart of letter writing the other day. My penman ship is not what it used to be, since computer and internet BUT he is old-fashioned which is part of his charm. 🙂

  2. juliagulia06 says:

    What a wonderful way to pay it forward. It all comes full circle eventually too. Very cool idea, I think I will do it in a library book.

  3. Lovely idea. You may enjoy my recent post on random acts of cyber kindness http://wp.me/p3BTRI-bh
    Keep up with the kindness, the world needs more.
    Thanks again

  4. My favorite book too! What a great thing to do!

  5. This is really a very nice thing. Since I love reading books, it would be also something that I would like to do. I would like the thought of someone reading a note written from me that was stuck in a book that I loved and enjoyed 🙂 I would also encourage that person to really read this book.

  6. kristensehn says:

    That is such a great idea! I love to read and I am in the process of giving some books away. I might have to do that 🙂


  7. Charlotte Hayes says:

    Seriously suchhh a great idea!!

    <3, Charlotte

  8. Beautiful. If we all contribute just a tiny bit to the global experience of love and abundance this lie of scarcity will be unsustainable

  9. poppyjocat says:

    Reblogged this on Hello from poppyjocat and commented:
    wonderful idea

  10. todaycommai says:

    This is such a wonderful idea… I think I will do this!

  11. mandala56 says:

    I’m definitely going to do this. I work in a library… I’ve left notes in books before, but not with this kind of focus. Sounds really fun!

  12. craftymadre says:

    That’s a great idea! It would be fun to put poems or small pictures in books, too. There’s a Facebook group called Art Abandonment that I’m going to propose that to.

  13. Yve says:

    Love this and seriously beginning to love you too! 🙂

  14. That’s a very cool idea and one I’ve never heard of before. I’m recently borrowed a book by the Dalai Lama from the library. I think it would be a nice book to put a note in. Now…what to say, that’s the trouble. Thanks for the inspiration.

  15. itsjustnora says:

    Such a cute idea, I’d love to open a book and find a letter in it! Might do this in the uni library!
    Nora xo

  16. Well, now I can’t wait to do it!

  17. this makes me happy – i love good books and surprises, so a perfect combination. i actually did something very similar with bookmarks : http://apartment-wife.com/2013/08/02/good-books-and-the-people-that-read-them/ — but i did jokes for a quick smile. we should collaborate on a project sometime:)

  18. I’ve always wanted to do this, but now you’ve reminded me and I think I’ll head off to Barnes and Noble with a few notecards in my purse!

  19. What a beautiful idea! 🙂

  20. markyrog says:

    This is so cool! I would love to find a note like that. However, my warped sense of humour being what it is, I’d probably write something like: I’m watching you right now! Or, I like the underwear you put on this morning! Not in the spirit of things, I know … but, hey! Seriously, this is seriously sweet and I’m going to do something amazingly wonderful for someone, too; get myself out of my sad little oh-woe-is-me existence. Keep up the good work!
    By the way, if you stole the things you gave away, then you’d be like a modern-day Robin Hood!
    Just a thought. 🙂

  21. ghostinthewalls says:

    Sincerely touched. You have a generosity of soul, and that’s so rare. You wish for others what you wish / would hope for yourself, and you actually take the time to materialize that wish in some way for them. I call that a “human angel.” Though I know your nature would probably not accept that compliment, still, I’ve put it here (so there! 😉 ~ Much respect! But, more than that, I just like you. ~ Bill

  22. hafong says:

    What a great idea! I will try it out and see how that feels….once I figure out what to write! Thanks!

  23. Absolutely adorable idea. I found two roses on the ground outside of my apartment a few weeks ago. Sometimes simple acts by strangers can really make your day!

  24. PRAE Missions says:

    I would love to find a note in a library book! What a wonderful idea. Thanks for continuing to be an inspiration to all us all!

  25. aww! when i was in highschool i worked in the library and i did this to the best books, and offered other reading material i thought the person would like (: right on

  26. savioni says:

    I totally love this idea. Recently, I left my new book in the library at Harbin Hot Springs. I got to talking to a lady from Brooklyn, who eventually talked me into showing it to her, so I didn’t get to experience, what a complete stranger might have felt in finding it, perhaps reading it, and then making contact with me.

    I have often thought of leaving my books in bookstores, but then it must be embarrassing when the customers walk up to the counter and want to pay for it. Still, that might be good too. At the moment, however, I have four different books at Diesel Bookstore in Oakland and of late my tabletop photo book was actually displayed prominently, which tickled me. Two out of the four have no titles on the binding because they are so thin, so they rest anonymously in the shelves. I am often curious as to what people think when they turn the pages. I know the risque one probably does a number to the feminists, since the first poem is about objectification.

    I will begin a campaign of leaving little trinkets in my recommended books however, like poems printed on high quality papers that will add that much more (or less) to the reader’s desire to purchase it. There will be one in Heidegger’s Being and Time, for sure. And all the books I have reviewed, I might put a page or two of what I have written and a link for more. Everyone seems to have access to the Internet.

    I bet if the store clerk saw you, she might wonder if what you were in fact asking for was to communicate to a spy or a lover, who you said you would leave instructions in the book.

    I actually think store clerks are as romantic as we. They would definitely leave the paper in the book, because inevitably it is like finding a message in a bottle meant for them.

    The person who finds it may start doing it themselves. We are all social animals and pretty much think alike.

    • Wow, thank you for this awesome comment! That is so true about the store clerks and I would love if they started doing it too 🙂 And wow, that’s actually an awesome idea, communicating to a lover through a note in a book – how romantic! That’s awesome you’ve left books in bookstores – what a wonderful treat for the person who finds them! I would definitely like to try something similar. Thank you for such awesome ideas 🙂

  27. Fantastic idea, there’s something beautiful in doing a lovely thing for a total stranger. Inspiring in fact. Thank you.

  28. its a great idea – i shall certainly do it one of these days

  29. Danielle says:

    Love this idea!!!!!!!

  30. nomadgen says:

    I’ve always wanted to do this but never had the guts to do it. Must do it this year!

  31. betsy von awesome says:

    This is very similar to when people leave post cards of secrets in Post Secret books (postsecret.com). I love their take and yours, as well.

  32. rhyiagibbons says:

    Reblogged this on The hipster life of Rhyia… and commented:
    I have actually done this before. (:

  33. RStorey says:

    This is a tremendously stupendously brilliant idea! Ones of my favorite ‘me’ time activities is a cozy chair and a cup of coffee in Barnes & Noble. I walk through the aisles to find an adventure that call out to me. Then in settle in for a few hours. The employees honestly don’t care or bother me. I especially like this one store in particular because there is a huge window that I pull the oversized chair up to and lose myself.

    I love the idea of leaving a note in the book I picked. Because I know it will be read by someone just like me.

    Thank you for sharing this!

  34. RStorey says:

    Reblogged this on Storey on a Story Blog and commented:
    What an amazing idea. So amazing that I am sharing it. I can’t wait for my next visit to Barnes & Noble.

  35. madamestyx says:

    OMG! I was cracking up at your sentence “you feel sneaky or like a thief”! I just went through this last week. I made up these magnets and wanted to leave them around randomly but couldn’t. I felt like I might be arrested for littering or graffiti or something. When I finally left it hiding in between the travel brochures at a rest stop I practically ran out and jumped into the car. I love your idea. I think I’ll scrounge up the nerve to do it. Will let you know if I manage to actually leave it behind…maybe with a magnet. Ok you can go take a peek at my site to see what I was trying to litter the world with 😉

    • Haha that’s too funny, but I completely know how you feel! You were doing something nice and yet it does look sneaky, which is hilariously backward lol 🙂 But yes, definitely let me know if you wind up doing it, and I’ll check it out now!

  36. livelifteat says:

    What a fun idea…something to do with future kiddos haha 🙂

  37. Sophie Milan says:

    The only thing that bothers me here is that I won’t be able to know how the reader would feel about the message. Lol. But I’ll keep this in mind in case I finally decide to do the same 😉

  38. Very clever Christine. I just might try it. Can I be cheeky and write something nice and date it 1971 ? Lol.

  39. carole says:

    Amazing!!! I just feel to do the same thing…. and I would like the one who find that note in the book !!!! Félicitations

  40. I love this idea and I think I will try it next time with a library book that I borrow. Would be a great idea in accommodations places too (e.g. backpackers). Just imagine where the letter may end up. Thanks for the inspiration.

  41. Ps.LoveDevin says:

    I love this! Awesome. I like the idea and I might even have to do this myself!

  42. carmenlitaa says:

    Reblogged this on Carmenlitaa Giggles and commented:
    This is nice 🙂

  43. Lilly Sue says:

    This is a fun idea. Very cool!

  44. alwayssunsian says:

    I love this idea! I definitely want to try this out! Love your blog 🙂

  45. alwayssunsian says:

    Reblogged this on sunsian and commented:
    I think this is such a lovely act. I MUST try it out some time, it is definitely getting added to my bucket list.

    Take a look at her blog, it really is inspiring.

  46. milambc says:

    I think this is my favorite one so far! Just because I too have such a love of books and could easily spend hours drifting away amongst the books in a Barnes & Noble! I would love to come across such a kind and caring note in my browsing, so whoever hopefully receives yours appreciates it!

    And I laughed at your musing that you felt like a thief when trying to conceal the note in the book. I think the same way about such things haha. 🙂

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