No, honestly: someone came to the Book Fair Playroom yesterday, expecting to find it utterly empty and was amazed to see “all these books”!
“Waddya talkin’ about?” I inquired, in genteel tones. “There’s nothing much here if I can still hear my voice bounce off the ceiling.”
“I didn’t expect ANY!” he said. “I thought you didn’t take books in August.”
I understood at once. “Well now, most of these are the ones people dropped off in July.”
He did NOT understand. “But you don’t take books in July.”
“We ask people not to bring them,” I said. “It’s not the same as not taking them.”
He still didn’t understand. But that does lead me to the question I’ve heard two dozen times in the past week. “When do you start taking books again?”
My answer is “Officially? Or unofficially?”
A lot of people think it’s unfair that we discourage donations in August. They really come to me and say, “But you didn’t take books in all of July! You’ve had your time off!”
What it is, steak and kidney muffin, is that at the end of July, when we have this little shindig, the place where I sort, price, and pack books the rest of the year becomes the bright and glorious Checkout Room. You saw it, didn’t you? (And if not, why are you reading this blog?) I try to keep pricing and packing to the very last minute, but what doesn’t get done needs to be shifted out of the way, along with the plastic sharks and tattered phone message books on my desk and all my price-hunting tools. This would take time even if some people didn’t insist on dropping more books off all during the process.
(Hey, I may have failed to shout out my gratitude to the three or four of you who brought in books in July, and marched right into the sale rooms and dumped them on the tables. Peachpit pie, I failed to shout that out because the library doesn’t like what I was intending to shout. But I’m sure you understand what’s in my heart.)
Can you guess, then, what I’m doing in August? No no no: I am not sunning myself on a beach somewhere, drinking strawberry rhubarb floats and reading my Kindle. I am back in my usual location, trying to remember where I put everything I moved out so I can put it back where it was when I left off. So my delight at seeing you back up your SUV full of National Geographics is tempered, mustard brownie, by the fact that I must now wait another day or two to find that box of plastic sharks. And there’s a camel I haven’t been able to find since the 2010 Book Fair (that was the day you dropped by with your Reader’s Digest Condensed Books.)
So officially, you are not supposed to drop off books until after Labor Day. When do I start taking them? I’ll answer yours if you can answer mine. When did I stop?