This Just In

Oh, we get treasures every day. They’re treasures for somebody, anyhow. I don’t know what to say about this “Recipes With Catsup” brochure, so I won’t even mention that, moving on to some of the other goodies sent for the ornamentation of our Second Annual 25th Book Fair.

We’ve been doing very well on signed books lately, and I am again left puzzling over the values of the autograph market. I find that a Luciano Pavarotti signed book beats a Jimmy Carter, but that a signed copy of Anchee Min’s Red Azaleas trumps them both. No real clue for me yet on what George Ryan’s autograph will fetch.

From one of those much maligned donations of rummage sale leftovers we brought in half a box of manga (in English). These translated Japanese comics are fun to put out for sale (check both the Children and the Science Fiction sections) but they’re a pain to price. I like it that each one reminds you you’re reading the wrong way if you try to read it from left to right. But this does mean I have to price each of them twice: once on the first white page in the back, and once on the last white page in the front.

Remaining in Japan, we have half a boxful of reports and newsletters from the Glory Kindergarten and Training School, one of the farflung outposts of the Kindergarten Movement. The papers run from the late nineteenth century into the 1920s, and are accompanied by a small, inexpensive jewelry box in which the little cardboard boxes from jewelry have been used as beds for a tiny plastic baby doll. There’s a story there, no doubt, but we let the buyer make it up after purchase.

And, of course, what every home needs is a rat calendar. Produced in 1976 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a company that developed a breed of rats suited for laboratory testing, it includes twelve colorful artists’ renderings of the jolly world of scientific rats.  But wait!  It also features a front cover which looks as if it has been chewed all the way around on three sides.

How many book fairs in Chicago, nay, in all of Illinois can boast such a variety?

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