This Just In | Page 48 | Newberry

This Just In

Things do keep coming in, even as we start to clear the decks for the main event. Just this Wednesday, we turned up a copy of the Grass Cookbook, a fine old bit of sixties nostalgia which suggests that you smoke a bit first to make sure of its potency before using it as an ingredient.

Oh, by the way, we’d really rather not have any donations between the Fourth of July and Labor Day. This gives us time to clear up what we have and hold a Book Fair and then clean up after ourselves.

If you like racehorses, you might consider the charms of American Roadsters and Trotting Horses, an 1877 study of the pedigrees of American racing stallions, illustrated with “photo-views”, whatever those may be: they’re slick and in color but they’re certainly not photographs by my understanding of the word. Anyway, there are all these neat pictures of horses.

We will, of course, accept your books if you drive up to the library with them. Don’t believe what anyone else tells you: we will not chase you off. No matter HOW much your donation gets in our way and breaks our hearts and keeps us from doing the job at hand, we promise to smile and not tell you what we think of you.

If you’re more into dogs, we have 1891’s American Book of the Dog, a 700-page volume in which 45 different breeds are each discussed by an appropriate expert, from the Great Dane to the Pug. The gilt illustration of the cover, showing a mastiff nose to nose with a greyhound is alone worth the price of admission. Just got that in mid-June.

What I mean you to understand, see, is that if it’s a matter of cleaning out a deceased relative’s apartment or getting some books cleared away before a lease ends in July, we do understand it’s an emergency and we’ll take your books. It’s just that we’re really, really busy, and we have lots of books as it is, so if you can possibly hold off, we’d appreciate it.

And somebody left a box of books on the dock last week, in which we found the 1744 edition of Samuel Butler’s Hudibras, a lengthy work mocking the supporters of Oliver Cromwell, with savage illustrations to match. It’s always exciting to get a book that commands a four-figure price this close to the Fair.

If you really want to give books to help out the library, almost any month is better than July. We won’t really have time to process anything much, and we’ll just put it to one side, and the chance is, that in all the fun and confusion, it’ll get mixed with the leftovers from the sale and just get sold when our leftover-buyer comes for the stuff the charities didn’t take.

We have some of the broadsides printed by Ralph Newman of Lyndon Johnson’s speech on Memorial Day, 1863, as part of the 100th anniversary of the Gettysburg address and also as part of the Kennedy administration’s long-awaited declaration of its stand on human rights.

I KNOW you’ve been saving all these books and thought July was the very best time possible, and I thank you for your generosity, but really, I have to move a hundred tables and three hundred bookcases and 2500 boxes of books and a couple hundred boxes of posters and prints, and records and CDs and videos, and games and puzzles, and what with the fact that I hate to miss a good book and will look through your box and then have to find a place to put it, your donation will just take up time and space we can’t afford right now, as well as aggravating those people who think I take up too much space as it is and whose goodwill is essential to a successful event, so, please, could you just lay off until September?

Maybe military oddities are your thing. We have a nifty collection of small books meant for children during World War II, all about the Coast Guard and the Army Air Corps (Hap Arnold wrote the intro to that one) and Motorized Artillery. We also just received an ashtray made by some Marine to celebrate the 178th birthday of the Corps in 1953. The Marine in question was apparently in Korea at the time. A Navy vet who was willing to look over the ashtray has given it as his opinion that it is brass, and made from a shell casing. You won’t find THAT in just any book fair in Chicago. And it came in last week, just when we’re starting to discourage donations

I can’t wait to see what comes in next. I hope it’s nothing.

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