I see that in May, 2011 that I declared I was having a Smurf Singalong sort of month, a month of bizarre and unexpected occurrences, a month of donations that might not be moneymakers but were at least memorable, a month when I could hear tiny blue lips singing “Happy Smurfday to you!”
Well, don’t let this get around, but I think the Fourth Annual 25th Anniversary Book Fair is going to have its Smurf Singalong month, too, and I am kind of afraid it’s going to be May again.
May is supposed to be a green month, people! Blue is reserved for the field on the flag come Memorial Day, the sky on balmy afternoons, and my language when the phone rings just as I am balancing a heavy art book on a pile a foot above my head. It is not the color for small creatures lurking around the Book Fair rooms. Story of my life, I guess: I keep looking for leprechauns and turning up Smurfs.
I don’t know whether it was Somerset Maugham or Charles Dickens who tipped me off. For our Charles collectors, we received a first edition of Dombey and Son in what seems to be the first state. We’ve spoken of this before: a first edition may come in a variety of states, depending on what we know about certain typographical errors or printing oddities. Some authors, like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Mark Twain, seem particularly prone to typos in their first states. Dombey and Son comes with several such errors, “Capatin” for “Captain” on a certain page, “Delight” for “Joy” on another, and so on. One noticeable one involves a character with a hook on his arm: the frontispiece (that picture facing the title page) got flipped, somehow, and shows the hook on the wrong arm.
Our copy has “Capatin” and “Delight”, as called for, but I can’t find the gentleman with the hook. Someone has torn out the frontispiece. In fact, on checking through the book, I find that some owner between 1848 and today has torn out every single illustration. This, um, kind of lowers the value of the book.
We had a first edition of Maugham’s Of Human Bondage come in, too. I have not bothered to check for points because it is held together by orange contact paper. This, as I hope you can guess, also kind of lowers the resale value. I was thinking of making a list of Things To Do To Make the Next Owner of Your Books Smile, but I reflected that anybody who couldn’t guess that tearing out pictures or pasting some semi-plastic wallpaper on a book might be bad things probably wouldn’t be able to read the list anyhow.
We did get some books which were tenderly cared for this week. At first, we thought they were still in their original shrink warp, but no. Closer investigation proved that a special transparent dust jacket protector had been made for each one.
Out of Glad Wrap. I believe I have the equivalent of ten rolls of vintage Glad Wrap which I will be passing along absolutely free of charge to the next owner. Well, it did keep the dust off the spines.
This all leads me to think I may be in for another Smurf Singalong Month. There’s no point getting upset about it. It your life is going to be Smurfy for a while, it’s going to be Smurfy. There’s nothing you can do about it.
That’s Smurfy’s Law.