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A “turn up for the books” is a phrase used to describe an unusual event, usually regarding a change in a personality. For instance an alcoholic coming home sober would be a turn up for the books. The phrase originated with horse racing. A turn up for the books was an unfancied horse coming in first, or the favourite doing badly. The turf accountants or “bookies” would have to re-write their books taking in to account the surprising result.

Source: The Phrase Finder

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