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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.

My Leisure Time Reading

If it’s not the books, it’s the boxes. I never stop marveling at what you folks write on things before you give them away to strangers.

Certainly at the top of the hit parade this week are that book on interior design which was inscribed “For Juliette. To inspire your dreams–as if they needed any help. I adore you. Theodore”. It might have been more romantic had Theodore written this in a book of love poetry, or even a copy of Romeo and Juliet. But it could have been a textbook on gastroenteritis, too, so I should be grateful for what I get.

We HAVE had inscribed textbooks on gastroenteritis, by the way, but those inscriptions tended to be more along the lines of, “To Dr. Thisanthat, for encouraging my study of bowels.” Yes, I think it pays Dr. Thisanthat back rather nicely.

I was mildly puzzled by two history textbooks which the author inscribed to the publisher. I suppose it’s no weirder than that copy the Newberry has of Paradise Lost which John Milton inscribed to HIS publisher, but of all the people in the world who don’t need another copy of your book….

Then there are the labels on your boxes. We’ve had some classics over the years: “Angels: Plain and Christmas”, “Bras Too Small for Sally”, and “Live Fish: This End Up.” This week I saw “Basement Storage: Ancient, Baroque, and Baby”. So, um, what was in this box originally, folks? Books on archaeology, architecture, and how Mr. Mouse Found the Cheese? Or is this where you put the outgrown baby clothes, and appliances that were obsolete or broken? (Baroque, you see: we attract a pretty punnish crowd around these parts.)

I am not even going to mention, though, that box marked “Junk–Give to Newberry.” Such people do not need to be encouraged by quoting them in a blog. Besides, it was pretty good junk: not at all like the two people this week who packed up all their junk mail and sent it to me. (And didn’t even write anything on the boxes.)

It’s more fun anyhow when the box is labeled with what it USED to have, and not what’s there now. The boxes in the latter category tend to say simply “Books”, “Donate” or “Newberry”. (Though we did get twenty boxes once from someone who spelled Newberry differently on each one: Nuberry, Nooberry, and my personal favorite, Newbrary. THAT has T-shirt possibilities.)

No, I prefer to open boxes marked “Grandma’s Quilts” or “Vacation Clothes.” I get a lot of daydream mileage out of these, wondering whether I AM getting a donation of quilts, or just which clothes one wears ONLY on vacation. I suppose you are limited in where you can wear thongs (I’m thinking of the ones on your feet, naturally) but maybe you vacationed in Antarctica last year, and have no use for the mukluks otherwise. I can also pretend you unpacked the vacation clothes and put your vacation books in their place.

Well, back to work. Can’t discuss thongs all day long. I need to look in that box marked “Encyclopaedia Britannica”. Maybe it’s got quilts in it.

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