I, buying the book for the cover, picked up a pristine paperback copy of Margaret of the Imperfections not so long ago. When I got home, it went in the stack of books to be read. It was duly read. [It was okay - a couple of the stories were excellent, one needs to be turned into a play, and the rest were unmemorable.] I took it downstairs to shelve it, in alphabetical order with all* of the other fiction in the house, and discovered that I ALREADY OWNED A COPY. Clearly I am imperfect, or my memory is.
Figuring that, given a choice, one should always keep the hardcover in lieu of the paperback**, I plucked the hardcover off the shelf just to see if it rang any bells. I certainly hadn't remembered reading it ever before, but opening it up, I found an inscription on the flyleaf.
I bought the book for my mother, for Christmas, in 1991. When we packed out her house, I took it home and shelved it. I wonder if she ever read it. Probably, it would have been unlike her not to, but I can't know anymore. But our books tell the stories that we've forgotten.
* Well, most. There are books in other rooms.
** And now that I have the hardcover,
who wants the paperback? Raise your hand. I'm mailing the paperback to a friend named Margaret.