So it’s a bit late to be holding an April Fool’s Party (or a Winning Lottery Ticket Party) but you might be considering other events coming up, and I would just like to introduce you to the concept of books as decorations during the event. Last year I attended a birthday party at which the guest of honor, a mystery reader of some note, had decorated the rooms with hundreds of paperback mysteries. I thought it was a thrilling effect (not least because she had bought them at the Newberry; Now, you can always come to the Book Fair and select books that reflect the person being honored, saluted, or roasted. That’s up to you. But for a more generic occasion, where there isn’t a bookloving guest of honor, there are options as well.
Valentine’s Day: paperback romances, of course, but don’t forget the way to a man’s heart—include some cookbooks. This also works for wedding showers, although not so much for men.
Bachelor Parties: We have a few books on hangover cures, if you like, or travel books (for those impromptu road trips that always seem like such a good idea at 3 A.M.) Just a tip: paperbacks are less likely to involve you in paying for damages to windows and light fixtures next day than hardcovers.
Memorial Day, Fourth of July: We have a Civil War section, which would provide books for a patriotic backdrop. You might also use these, with a slightly different arrangement, for that Divorce-Is-Final party.
Halloween: You want something scary? We are replete this year with tales of Horrifying Doom and Destruction. No, not in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror section. Try Political Science.
Birthdays: History books are always appropriate: you can be specific, and buy books about events which occurred during the person’s lifetime, or jocular, and buy books on ancient history to emphasize that the guest of honor has just turned 30 and there’s no turning back. In this case, don’t dust them when you get them home. You can also buy LPs, if the guest of honor is old enough to know what they are.
Baby Showers: We have lots of books on Dread Warnings for Mothers-To-Be, but I’d steer clear of those (that’s what her sisters and in-laws are for.) Stick to the cute children’s books with duckies and bunnies on them.
Mother’s Day: NOW you pull out all the Dread Warnings to Mothers-To-Be, as a sort of message saying “Glad to have been the source of so much fun in your life”.
Father’s Day: I think two-thirds of the books on golf that come into the Book Fair were given to somebody on Father’s Day. If you buy all of these and use them as decorations, it’ll be saying “Hey, at least you don’t have to unwrap ‘em this year!” (And don’t worry about finding something for next year. There will ALWAYS be more golf books.)
Christmas: Hey, this is the season of giving. You want to decorate with all those receipt forms which show how much you gave the Newberry last year. (Also good for a party on April 15.)