- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2007

HANCOCK, Mich. (AP) — At least the book in question wasn’t the famously steamy “Tropic of Cancer.”

In a tale that resembles a classic episode of “Seinfeld,” Robert Nuranen last week handed his local librarian a book he’d checked out for a ninth-grade assignment — along with a check for 47 years’ worth of late fees.

Mr. Nuranen said his mother misplaced the copy of “Prince of Egypt” while cleaning the house.

But unlike Jerry’s copy of Henry Miller’s notorious sex novel in “The Library” episode, “Prince of Egypt” never found its way into the possession of a homeless man. Instead, the Nuranen family would come across the book every so often, only to set it aside again. Mr. Nuranen found it last week while looking through a box in the attic.

“I figured I’d better get it in before we waited another 10 years,” he said after turning it in Friday with the $171.32 check. “Fifty-seven years would be embarrassing.”

The book, with its last due date stamped June 2, 1960, was part of the young Mr. Nuranen’s fascination with Egypt. He visited that country and 54 others, and all 50 states, he said, but he never did finish the book.

Mr. Nuranen now lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches seventh-grade social studies and language arts.

The library had long ago lost any record of the book, librarian Sue Zubiena said.

“I’m going to use it as an example,” she said. “It’s never too late to return your books.”

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