This Professor Bought A Book That She’d Previously Owned Years Ago

It was *literary* meant to be.

Gena Zuroski, an associate professor of English and cultural studies at McMaster University, was extremely surprised when a book she reordered turned out to be the exact same copy of the book that she had lost.

One of my books went missing years ago and I recently ordered a used copy online and it's my actual missing book

Gena Zuroski

Zuroski told BuzzFeed News she'd originally bought the book as a PhD student at Brown, but kept it in her office's bookshelf to lend to students.

Gena Zuroski

"It's a wonderful book and I used it heavily while researching my dissertation. I'm almost certain I lent it to a student and it just didn't come back, which happens occasionally," Zuroski said.

Zuroski said she's been missing the book for a "few years."

"It's a book I go back to frequently and like to recommend to my students, which is how it escaped me," she said. "Before Christmas, I decided it was silly not to have a copy of it in my office and went onto Amazon and ordered the cheapest used copy available."

Once it arrived, she briefly considered if it would be weird to read someone else's markups and annotations within the pages.

Gena Zuroski

Zuroski said the book was from but sent specifically from Motor City Books in St. Louis.

"When I turned it over, I noticed that the original price sticker on the back looked a lot like the Brown Bookstore label on my own copy," she said. "I actually thought for a minute, 'What are the chances of my getting another copy of this book from the same original store?'"

When she opened the book, she immediately knew it was hers.

Gena Zuroski
Gena Zuroski

"I was completely stunned," she said. "I flipped through it and all my underlining and marginalia were there!"

Zuroski has no idea where her book has been since it went missing.

"I don't even have any idea which student I'm likely to have lent it to," she said. "Though, whoever it is, I suspect they also have my copy of Laura Brown's Ends of Empire, since I like to recommend those two books together."

Zuroski said she shared her coincidental story on Twitter because she believes people "feel similarly close to their books and are moved by the idea of their lost books coming home."

Gena Zuroski

"I would love for this book to be able to tell me what it's been up to," she said. "My favorite response so far is the person who said this adventure has encouraged him to continue to lend his books out freely, with hope."

Hopefully many more lost and lonely books out there have a reunion as delightful as this one.

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A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.