Coming Right Up | Newberry

Coming Right Up

Well, it’s just over a week now: time to tie up loose ends, get those fragile collectibles sealed into protective plastic, and brace ourselves for the onslaught of book bingers.

It’s also time for me to worry, as I do annually, whether I’ve said enough nice things about what we have to sell. There’s plenty in the LP department, lots of children’s books, piles of cookbooks. Did I mention the type specimens? Did I mention all the iris Murdoch first editions, and all the Muriel Spark? The Caroline Kennedy autograph? The Harlan Ellison autographs?  The Levi Johnston autograph?

There isn’t much more time to fill you in on everything you mustn’t miss, especially since–as things are arranged in our world–the treasure that speaks to you especially will be something I didn’t notice as it went by. One of the reasons for bothering with all this book shifting is my personal faith that somewhere, someone out there will go through an amazing positive life change from buying a copy of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

Anyway, I must now concern myself with aisle space, table placement, sign placement, volunteer placement, and all other such technical matters. This is work which involves both heavy thinking and heavy lifting, and, while I’m at that, I also need to clean out my work area so it can be YOUR checkout area. This is also time-consuming work. So I would like to say just one little word to those of you who have brought me books this week.

Unfortunately, the Newberry will not let me use that little word on this website.

Um, I understand about those of you who are moving and have somehow ridiculously scheduled the move for the end of July. I presume you didn’t know in June that you’d be moving, and couldn’t bring books earlier. I understand about those of you who just finished reading The Help and want to drop it off and pass it along.

But, friend: twenty boxes of books? And not even in boxes but just piled in the back of your SUV, so a volunteer who was supposed to be doing something useful had to run around and find boxes and help you unpack your car? Yes, the books were fine old treasures: well, they were old, anyhow. They had obviously been sitting in your uncle’s basement since the late 1940s. Moldy, musty, torn: the volunteer said he didn’t know whether he was smelling your books or the dumpster with the remains of Sunday’s wedding dinner in it. (Fish, of course.)

I liked the thirty volume set: that would have been worth selling. Or it would have been if you hadn’t let it sit in something wet. My own nose isn’t perfectly developed: was that antifreeze or kerosene or did one of your pets forget about house training? The book was soaked through the cover and the last forty or so pages, so it sat in whatever it was for quite some time. Thank you for this. I was able to make space by throwing the whole set away: no good without that volume, and that volume was no good at all now.

And while I’m on the subject, I didn’t like the way you said “Your Book Fair is next week?” Tell me you’re not going to do this to me again during the Fair itself. I know I didn’t tell you not to: it wasn’t until you had left that I thought, “Wait a minute. He wouldn’t, would he?”

Eight days to go.


Do you post the lay-out map on your blog before the sale?
Not so far. I'll look into it; maybe we could at least do the "Subjects By Room" list.
Dear Uncle Blogsy. That stuff the dog used to soak those donated books was rather infamously used during the Cold War as an invisible ink. Perhaps the dog meant only to inscribe the books, or was trying to pass along a message to you?
So you're saying these should have gone with the inscribed books?

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