Every time I switch on a computer these days, the Internet brings me pictures of some political candidate or another. Well, let’s face it, it’s either This One or That One. I don’t understand it. Do the mighty brains who have brought us the World As We Know It, who have devised machines which will connect us to millions of cute kitty videos and a thousand different variations of the same five games, not understand that I do not turn to my computer to be reminded of reality? Unless you show me where to find the Reset button for the 2016 elections, do not show me the Worthy Candidates.
The same holds for the carts outside the A.C. (Affordable Carts) McClurg Bookstore. You will look in vain for current events. As a sop to political junkies, I did put out Equal Time for Pogo and a collection of letters to a White House cat. But I regard these carts as an outpost of Wonderland, and I try to exercise due diligence to let fantasy predominate.
There are the cookbooks. There will be more as we sneak toward the holiday period, but I kind of TRY to hold off until after Halloween. (I have a few Halloween things, but they’re on hold until Labor Day. This is my concession to Grinches who cry, “Oh no! Not holidays again this year!” I disagree with them on this, but it IS how I feel about Election Day, so I try to be kind.)
But if you are looking for “Clever Low-Fat Salad Dressing” cookbooks, put your money away until July. If you want “Holiday Marzipan Without the Calories”, the holiday which will bring them to you comes in summer. I know you might buy these: this is why I put them out at the Book Fair. But the world of the cart is all butter, bacon, and whipped cream. (None of which, by the way, involve ANY calories as long as you’re just reading the cookbook.)
You will find cute kitty books on the carts. Who are we to buck the trend which proves there cannot be too many poems, photos, and cartoons involving cats? But I check these things first to make sure they don’t include page after page of information on cat diseases and cat surgery. These might be useful to the cat owner, you say? Fine, catnip casserole: the cat owner should have bought them this summer instead of posting those videos of the new kitten eating spaghetti.
(Yeah, I did put out that book about how to care for your pet chinchillas which included the chapter on how to turn them into a fur coat. But weirdness also counts in Wonderland.)
Maybe you don’t feel those books on the Civil War are a wild whee of merriment. But not everybody has the same idea of a good time: there are plenty of would-be Scarletts and Rhetts out there in the audience, or even a few would-be Bruce Cattons whose fantasy is writing the next Civil War bestseller. Maybe you find those cookbooks frustrating rather than fascinating: is it MY fault your Seven-Eleven is out of authentic Finnish coriander?
My point is that our main target is the passing customer who might glance at the cart and cry, “THAT looks like fun!” And that is why you will see more books of puppies than you will see books on the current crop of Presidential candidates. (Unless one of them writes a book of kitty captions. Grandchildren and/or apprentices do not count.)