Holiday Reading, Reading Holiday | Newberry

Holiday Reading, Reading Holiday

This column is nothing but reminders, some useful and some ornamental. I’m afraid it’s up to you to decide which is which.

But IF you were thinking of dropping off books for the Book Fair (and we’re between massive loads at the moment, so we wouldn’t mind a few things to play with) you would be better advised NOT to try it on Saturday. Yes, I KNOW you don’t want your family to arrive and find out you haven’t yet finished reading The DaVinci Code, but today or Monday would be better. It is time for the annual Festival of Lights Parade, and Saturday the street behind the Newberry is shutting down at 8:30 in the morning, so bits and bobs of the parade can be outfitted and put in order. Michigan Avenue is closing at our end of town at 3:30 P.M., so it becomes even more useless, unless you wanted to stay around until after dark watching the parade.

It’s not that we don’t want your donations. We just don’t want to have to put you up for the night.

While we’re on the subject of the festivals of November, I thought I’d remind you that the Newberry will be CLOSED, LOCKED, SHUT UP TIGHT for a good chunk of next week. We are open on Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday (December 2 and 3) but we are closed on Gravy Thursday, Black Friday, Local Shopping Saturday, and…Sunday.

It was Sunday I wanted to talk to you about. What with Black Friday starting hours early, and certain cybermerchants trying to convince you that shopping with them on your computer is local since a lot of the things they sell you are local (though shipping is not free), I sometimes think we are missing the true meaning of these highly important holidays. So I wanted to remind you that in 2017, I nominated the Sunday after Thanksgiving as Reading Sunday.

I didn’t expect a lot of response on this. In fact, I discouraged it. Going out and singing Book Carols would take away from your reading time, as would addressing all those reading Sunday cards. I didn’t even want you going online to buy books—even from me—because that violates the whole point of reading Sunday, the one day in the whole festival of Thanksgiving Afterdays when you are NOT being urged to go BUY something.

Yes, a lot of traveling has to be done on that Sunday, but that works in our favor. Stuck in the airport? Bring a book. Driving home with unruly kids in the backseat? (Even just ONE kid in a backseat gets unruly.) Toss ‘em a book.

We can make it seem more like a Big Deal Holiday. Serve traditional Reading Sunday food (anything you can hold in one hand while you turn pages with the other: popcorn, a croissant, or a turkey sandwich.) Nothing too fancy: it takes time away from your reading, and everyone else will be too engrossed in finding out whether Ojo can bring his uncle back from being turned into a statue to realize what they’re eating. Besides, on Thanksgiving you ate in great volume. (That’s going to be one of the traditional jokes of the holiday. Nobody laughed at it in 2017: that’s obviously going to be traditional, too.)

And like any good American holiday, we’ll need to have RULES. (It’s a sacred American tradition, telling other people they’re doing this holiday the wrong way.) No, checking your email will NOT count, neither will browsing social media. Christmas catalogs will not count either, unless they’re the kind some companies put out in the sixties, with a story running along the bottom of the pages to make sure you went through the whole thing.

And NO taking books to the Newberry because it’s closed and because Uncle Blogsy is of course getting ready to slide down your chimney and fill your waiting bookbag with bookends and book racks and other goodies.

Unless he’s finally getting around to reading The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, of course.

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