We had another collection of books come in from the Salvation Army: not unwanted books donated from the stores, but volumes weeded from the instructional library of their College For Officer Training. (CFOT) I like to see these come in–the boxes often include books on religion which I don’t get anywhere else–but I didn’t expect to wind up humming.
I think I have spoken before of an urge I have to shelve two books from different categories together. I’ve always wanted Agatha Christie’s By The Pricking Of My Thumbs to sit next to Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Since it’s a couplet from Macbeth, maybe the upcoming Shakespeare exhibit will give me an excuse.
But there are greater ambitions available to those of us whose minds are a trifle off plumb. What I had from the Salvation Army was a small paperback defending Fundamentalism, with the title Fundamental Things Apply.
Ha! You’re humming, too! I need to save this book and set it on a shelf with Joyce Carol Oates’s You Must Remember This, and Roger Ebert’s A Kiss Is Still a Kiss. There are any number of books called As Time Goes By to complete the shelf, but maybe the biography of Ingrid Bergman which bears the title would be the best choice. (I can’t find any books listed online called A Sigh Is Still a Sigh, but there must be one.)
But could I stop with that? Would I be forced to create other displays? One could take A.J. Cronin’s Sing a Song of Sixpence, turn to Agatha Christie again for A Pocketful of Rye, add Mercedes Lackey’s Four and Twenty Blackbirds, and finish with this cross-stitch book called Baked In a Pie. The possibilities are endless.
(Rachel Field wrote a book called The Birds Began to Sing, and there is a book of poetry called When the Pie Was Opened, but if I give you all the answers, you won’t want to play the game.)
Some famous literary passages are surprisingly difficult–Hamlet’s Soliloquy is hopeless in more ways than one–while others are easier. If you aren’t too picky about your translation, I think Psalm 23 would produce a variety of book displays.
It might make an interesting competition during the Book Fair: the person who could line up the largest number of books whose titles produce an intelligible verse or literary passage could win a prize. (How about a gold medal which says I HAVE WAY TOO MUCH TIME?) But I suppose what we’d really have are people walking into each other as they hum, and fighting over those all-important Agatha Christie titles. And we have enough people fighting for Christies as it is. (Nothing is more frightening than an Agatha Christie fan who doesn’t have all her Marples.)
Maybe if we make it simpler: just stack up your books so every book in the pile rhymes. But that would have its own hazards: place that copy of Put Me In the Zoo atop that little paperback of Catch-22, and top it off with that big picture book about the Battle of Waterloo, and you’d be endangering the check-out volunteers, whose lives are fraught with peril in any case. And I’d never sell another copy of John McPhee’s Oranges.
Ah well. Enough of this fruitless fooling: a book fair manager has important things to do. I see another book in the CFOT box on interpretation of the Book of the Revelation, called The Coming of the Lord. So now I need that Civil War art book called Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory. There was a paperback of the Grapes of Wrath over here a minute ago, too.