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Book Fair Blog

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.

Cold Medal

Now, I have inveighed against these things before, but I think we must go over them again. Because when somebody brings me a donation which moves me to use the word “inveighed”, it’s gotta be blogworthy.

First, you arrived during a major snowstorm. I’ve asked about this before. Do you just have nothing else to do? “Nothing good on TV. Wanna go to Starbuck’s?” “Oh, ick: it’s snowing! What CAN we do?” “I know! Let’s take those books to the Newberry!”

Now, the fact that you arrived while I was out does not count toward your point total. I had to run out to the bank, even though I know half the business of Chicago is conducted over the lunch hour. I was taking my chances, so I cannot blame this on you.

I HAVE, however, mentioned that using boxes more than two feet tall is not your best option. True, only one of your boxes fit this category, but you showed a certain amount of moxie in filling said box nearly to the brim. I’m sorry now I didn’t get to see this. How did you get that thing out of your car, truck, SUV, moving van, and up onto our dock?

In fact, how did you get ANY of the boxes unloaded? Because the rest of the donation was contained in those cardboard receptacles which U-Haul so humorously calls “SMALL”. And you had, in contradiction to all of Uncle Blogsy’s guidelines, taped up the flaps so that you could fit in twice as many books. This not only makes these already heavy boxes heavier, but also makes them difficult to haul, since the taped-up flaps are unwieldy and allow for lots of floppage by the books at the open tops.

Say, and where did you have these books stored? If anything else of yours is stored there, I’ll give you a tip. It’s a little too dry there. The cardboard of these boxes had become brittle with the passage of time. Bits broke off every time I tried to move them.

This does not give you sufficient excuse for setting each box down in the sloppy wet salty water of our loading dock. See, although the snow was pouring down from heaven, the weather was just warm enough, and there was enough salt on the dock, for melted snow puddles. Having set these boxes, which are cardboard and therefore not waterproof, into the puddles, you then decided to move them back out of harm’s way, so the snow would not keep landing on them and getting the (really) nice books wet. So you stacked the boxes back out of the way of the snowstorm.

But, see, having been sitting in the puddles, these boxes were soaking wet on the bottom. So when you stacked them, you were spreading a layer of wet, salty cardboard across the books at the top of the boxes underneath. These books had no protection, since you had taped the flaps of the lid up, remember? Some of those books now have a thick protective crust which somehow makes them more difficult to sell.

I understand why you didn’t like to leave your name with me: modesty becomes you. You didn’t want posterity to know who had scored so high on the Blogsy Bleah List. So you talked the person helping you unloading into signing a blank receipt. People do that. “I don’t have my list with me. If you just sign the receipt, I’ll fill it in at home.” You do realize, don’t you, that if the IRS has any questions, this does you no good. Because our records will have nothing to back you up: our copy of the receipt has only that person’s signature and the date, nothing about your name or address or what you gave.

So bad weather, bad boxes, bad packing bad stacking, bad receipt: I give you a 95 out of 100. If you’d asked for your boxes back, you could’ve had a perfect score. Or if they’d been odd volumes of, say, an orthopedic encyclopedia, instead of a really nice collection of poetry, history, and so on. Still, your reach must exceed your grasp, or what’s a Book Fair for?

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