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Found: The Best Lost, Tossd, and Forgotten Items from Around the World Paperback – May 4, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (May 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743251148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743251143
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 7.9 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the tradition of NPR's National Story Project comes this funky collection of letters, flyers and other miscellany from the pages of Found magazine. Rothbart, the magazine's editor and founder, has pulled together the funniest, weirdest and most moving items found by himself and his readers over the years. Fairly typical is the note left on a car's windshield, intended for a wayward boyfriend named Mario: "You said you had to work then whys your car here at HER place?.... I hate you..." piling invective upon invective until concluding: "p.s. Page me later." Rothbart and company find stuff just about everywhere: on buses, taped to trees, underneath Coke machines, in the recycling bin at Kinko's. Some items are heartbreaking (a missing person poster found in Manhattan after September 11), some hilarious (an algebra test, flunked with creativity and panache) and some just plain odd (a note directing residents to lock a door in order to "prevent unauthorized people from entering the building and defecating in the washing machine"). There are some explanations, but mostly, the trash speaks for itself, reproduced with Rothbart's particular punk-collagist aesthetic. At times, reading the notes and letters feels uncomfortably voyeuristic, and inevitably, readers are left wanting more, wishing for details about these lives beyond what the sketchy fragments provide (did that scoundrel Mario ever change his wanton ways?). A provocative and original book, Rothbart's collection manages to pull laughter and drama from the flotsam and jetsam of society.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Since elementary school, Rothbart has been collecting things he finds–in the trash, on the bus, on the ground. When he decided that others might be interested in them, he cut and pasted the best ones into a fanzine called Found. Other people quickly began sending him items, and the magazine grew into this "best of" collection. It contains predominantly handwritten notes, but there are also photos, drawings, e-mails, grocery lists, and even a picture of a kitten that was found in a library book drop. Many of the finds are compelling on their own, but what really entertains is the imagined possible backgrounds. One must wonder about the story behind the note, "Don't take matress. Leanne died on it. Shame on you. Apt. 306." There is also an interview with cartoonist Lynda Barry, and a poignant one with a man who found a message in a bottle 19 years after it was sent to sea. Though many of the items will bring laughs, there are also sad ones–lots of breakup notes and those written by children to their estranged parents, and some moving flyers from the World Trade Center collapse. Some of the pieces were obviously written by high-school students and passed in class. Reluctant readers will enjoy browsing through the silly, the sexy, and the scatological, but this book will appeal to anyone's inner eavesdropper and packrat instincts.–Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Davy Rothbart is the author of the national bestseller Found, and creator of the magazine of the same name. A contributor to public radio's This American Life, he is also the author of the story collection The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Customer Reviews

It's weird and often hysterical and sometimes very, very sad.
L. Covey
Found is a collection of pieces of paper that people have actually found and submitted to this man for his website & book.
Jeri T
Its one of those books that you can just flip on any page and there will be something good to read.
B. Emory

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 14, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Davy Rothbart and the gang at "Found" magazine have turned out a truly original gem. The concept is simple: people find things that they were not intended to find, and send it in to Davy, who sorts the wheat from the chaff and comes up with a pithy book of insight on the American psyche. Some of the things that have been found are unreal. I am particularly fond of the love letters and notes left on double parked cars. Others are simply too bizarre to try to contextualize, such as notes reading "Warning: The iguana is loose on the porch...", and "If the ball is too loud take it up when you sleep and put it back down when you get up", for instance. But my all time favorites are the lost pet flyers. Now I love animals, and I think it is a real tragedy when someone loses a pet, but these flyers made me laugh so hard I almost fell off my chair (you really need to see them for the full effect): "Loss Cat: Speckles, Does not call when come, Dirty, Not tag, Reward needs medicines. Foam. Call Ward." Best of all is "Lost Cobra Color: brown, black, yellow, red (on teeth), blue (color of tongue) Snake has been known to bite off heads. Snake is not house trained. Answers to "Psycho". Length: 7' Weight: 45 lbs Warning, snake is deadly. Will bite if provoked. Psycho has a strong scottish accent." As hard as I try, I could never make up something that funny.

Some of the things are genuinely touching, and some are quite old. A few are from outside the US, but largely this is a peek into the collective subconscious of America. This book is a national treasure.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Brodsky on May 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
I laughed and cried my way through this book, couldn't put it down. It mixes the ludicrous, the joyful and the heartbreaking, offering a clear view into human nature. I see myself and those around me on every page, but with a loving heart fostered by Davy's sense of humor. I find myself wanting to know these people, actually seeing I DO know them, for they are me!
What I love most is that Davy had the wisdom to take these scraps we all see as trash and recognize them as rich compost, ready to be reborn into a fascinating source of wisdom, to delight us, surprise us, and to foster our ability to laugh at ourselves and our world. They show us at our best, worst and most vulnerable, show all our loves and fears. The book is a true teacher of compassion!
While Davy says there's no special order, the book fit together perfectly for me, leading me from one insight to another, one laugh to another. The layout that looks like a collection of scraps is perfect for the contents.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin K. Potter on October 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Rothbart has taken a brilliant idea and executed it to a tee. I first heard of this book through [...] The randomness and unintentional comedy carries tremendous appeal.

The author, with the help of a volunteer army of trash hunters, find the treasure of others' trash. My personal favorite was a sign that said simply "Steve" with a bunch of vertical tearaway "Steve"s on the bottom. (Done in the style of a laundrymat ad.) Others have found evidence of epic battles, heartwrenching breakups and untold mysteries. The greatest outcome -- you begin to wonder who these people are, what context the note was in, and how their various conflicts have since resolved. The imagination runs wild with the possibilities. In that way, the book almost functions as one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, with you the reader filling in the empty spaces.

A great "find," pun definitely intended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By amh on June 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
I keep this on my coffee table. Everyone who comes by my place picks it up, leafs through for a minute or two, then sits down and starts reading. And then we're always late, as I try to get them to put the book down and they read "just one more." Not that I blame them. Each page is more than a collage of worn notes or ripped photographs - they are untold stories, mysteries that will never be resolved. Did the lovers reconcile? Was the note discarded in anger by the recipent or was it never sent at all? Did Mario ever clear his muddied name? Now I walk with my eyes cast downward, looking for a crumpled bit of paper that could be ordinary trash, but just might be something worth finding.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Papa Hemingway on January 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a fun book adapted from a high-concept interactive website that you "explore" more than read. It is hysterical, moving, and sometimes a bit terrifying as you pour over a relic of someone's rage.

It can be graphic as some are complaining below, but I am not sure what they expected -- perhaps they should have thought to visit the website in advance of their purchase. I just reviewed another great interactive-internet collection, Not Proud: A Smorgasbord of Shame, and am starting to feel like I should have made the same suggestion there, since it was even more raunchy and freaky...

Anyway, you just have to step out in the world and see the same obscenities scattered on shreds of paper and scrawled on walls -- at least in Found it is given a concept and a context.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By L. Covey on October 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book, I can barely explain how powerful it is.

These little found articles are perfect fragments of thrown-away life. It's weird and often hysterical and sometimes very, very sad.

I often wonder about the authors of some of the notes. Why they weren't saved- Did the reciever of this letter throw it out? Was it a draft thrown out by whoever wrote it? Some of the broken lives, I hope that they've been mended.

Some of the pieces are so emotional and give such an image of such a moment. They're terrific. They pull me out of my world and into the world of countless strangers.

I love it. This is a terrific collection.
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