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Every book has a story

Every book has a story.

Check in frequently to read the behind-the-scenes scoop on the Newberry’s popular Book Fair. The blog is maintained by “Uncle Blogsy,” otherwise known as Dan Crawford, Book Fair Manager.

A Short Month, But Oh My

So far, February has been a bang-up month for donations: boxes of this, bags of that until we don’t know which treasures to handle first. No sense asking YOU: everything here is SOMEBODY’s favorite.

Those ten or twelve boxes of Asian art turned into twenty-two so far. Big, solid books from someone who looked over all of Asia but was especially interested in Japanese calligraphy and Chinese sculpture. The books have letters in them, too: you know the kind. The art dealer who sends the catalog writes “I hope you noticed item 719, ma’am. It’s just what you’re looking for and only $16,000.”

Maybe you don’t know that kind of letter.

We have also received a small collection of those art catalogs where the dealer had one of his clients do an original lithograph for the cover. There are two Miros, two Chagalls, and a smattering of artists with good but less stellar reputations: Matta, Corneille…I’m not sure yet about the Picasso.

I mentioned the two boxes of espionage last week. Those arrived the same day I was busy with the fifteen boxes of children’s books which turned out to be fifty-one. And people wonder why I never tidy up around the place. About thirty boxes were what are known as “new old stock”: multiple copies of books which were supposed to be sold years ago, but which got set aside somewhere. These look to be from around 2010 or 2011.

But they’re just what some of you are looking for: brand new, no previous owner copies of, say, Barbie Mariposa and the Butterfly Princess, the Power Rangers Storybook Volume 2, the Phineas and Ferb Coloring Poster Book (in Spanish), the Dora the Explorer Sticker Coloring Book (each book includes 700 stickers, and these books have never seen the light of day, so all the stickers are still inside.) I hope the grandparents coming in July will be properly grateful. (OR the schoolteachers…or the eccentric aunts with twenty nieces and nephews…or who knows? Maybe your Adult Coloring Book Circle is tired of those complicated pictures and would like something more the speed of the Power Rangers Poster Coloring Book.)

Somebody else has enhanced our Children’s section by tossing in her collection of Joan Walsh Anglund. Joan is an author who seems to polarize adults: “too cute”, “adorable”, “touching”, “sappy”, “classic”, “Hallmarky”…the reviews abound on all sides of the question.

For those of us who were not given books like “A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You”, her classic will always be “The Brave Cowboy”. In this adventurous tale, a mighty hero (who looks to be about five years old) faces innumerable dangers in his backyard. He provoked a series of sequels, which, like the sequels to “Harold and the Purple Crayon”, which employs a similar plotline, are very nice but not a patch on the first book in the series.

In any case, we are looking for the Joan Walsh Anglund collectors, and not so much the people who look at “Little Angels’ Alphabet of Love” and turn green. These people probably give each other electric paint strippers for Valentine’s Day.

SPEAKING of which, have you noticed that the Newberry is experimenting with shutting up shop this weekend, in honor of President’s Day? That means if you have book donations you were planning to drop off as Valentines for me, the chances are that I will not be around to take them on the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth. And you had those five boxes of Pia Zadora CDs all packed up to bring? Dang it: better luck Tuesday.

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