Another Holiday Weekmiddle | Newberry

Another Holiday Weekmiddle

We are celebrating Independence Day this week, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all residents of the United States of America, and all non-resident citizens of the same the very best wishes of the occasion. I hope that every American reading this—interpreting “American” in the broadest sense possible—can partake on the Fourth of the freedoms implied in our Constitution and our Declaration. I say “implied” because not everything we associate with freedom could be explicitly stated in the 18th century: freedom to Tweet what you’re thinking as the fireworks explode, freedom to choose either yellow or brown mustard on your gluten-free hot dog, freedom from worrying that Uncle Blogsy doesn’t have enough books….

Yes, my fellow Americans, this another one of those dang reminders that we TRY to cut off book donations on the Glorious Fourth. (We’re closed, actually, so we actually cut off the day before, which is why Uncle Blogsy calls it the Glorious Third.) By my estimate, we had about seven thousand books, records, and miscellaneous objects donated last week. We are not going to be running short of things for the Book Fair, unless it’s precious minutes. Loose ends must be tied up, prices decided upon, and the decks cleared for speedy movement.

And oh, how the books roll in. I never know whether I’m being kidded or ignored, but a nice couple dropped off three banana boxes last week. One was the newfangled kind, which has a kind of rudimentary foldover lid, invented to make the box even more difficult to use for books. (The old school banana box came in two parts. This meant the lid could be taken off entirely, and filled with books the same as the bottom.)

We received three donations of art from people who had purchased it at charity auctions and then wondered “What do I do with this?” I suppose they came up with the right answer to that. Do you suppose there are artworks that move from charity sale to charity sale without ever once in their lives winding up in somebody’s living room?

Those beat-up old boxes of beat-up old books were kind of nice. We don’t really see old books any more…at least as the elderly manager sees it. People used to bring us sixty year-old books from the 1920s; now they insist on sixty year-old books from the 1950s. Not the same. It’s nice to see a box of books from the 1920s again, even if the box makes it look as if the books have been sitting in them SINCE the 1920s.

And, anyhow, there was a first edition Edith Wharton in there as well as some early Theodore Dreiser. It was even nice to see old Warwick Deeping again.

The old newspapers can go with the rest of the old newspapers people gave us this year (no, not in that grey bin: in the Collectibles section!) And more old science fiction magazines! I assume people are still reading Jack Vance and Hal Clement and the other masters. They weren’t in great shape, but that just means people can find them in the Science Fiction section instead of Collectibles this year.

Anyway, the point I was making is that we do not have much more time for this kind of joyful discovery. We have to tidy up and get things arranged so that YOU can discover all these things at the end of this month. So get out there and grill the asparagus and the Brussels sprouts, pumpkin spice churros, and don’t worry about bringing me any more books ‘til Fall.

This banana box was so full of Ya-Ya Sisters I may be pricing those all week.


Perhaps this peripatetic artwork will replace the proverbial fruitcake on the regifting scene!

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