Once upon a time, a mover told me those big three by three boxes on rollers they use were called missiles. “Because we use ‘em to move miscellaneous stuff,” he said. I have been told I have some odds and ends to catch up on, so this column is a missile.
Did I sell any of the books with commas in the prices? Yes, but not many. I am fully prepared to set books out for several years before people make up their minds to take the plunge. I did sell the John F. Kennedy autograph to someone who announced he would turn it around and sell it for lots more on eBay. I told him to let me know when the auction went up so I could watch. I haven’t heard. A book with a comma in the price is not generally an impulse purchase, and one sometimes has to wait. I still, by the way, have that book autographed by Martin Heidegger that philosophy majors like to come around and ask if they can touch. If I could charge by the touch…but I guess that would be another line of work entirely.
Did anyone meet and fall in love at the Book Fair this year? No one’s posted any such news on THEIR blogs yet. I’m pretty sure I saw several couples who came there expecting it would be a cheap date. (I would suggest all book people contwemplating a relationship bring their potential Significant Other here at the end of July. Finding out that they can’t live without a complete set of Will and Ariel Durant OR that they don’t understand that YOU can’t, can be vital to your future happiness.)
Are you ever going to give us 101 reasons that “Books are like lovers”? I got a lot of responses to my challenge to end the sentence “Books are like lovers”. So far, however, only two that are funny are also printable (There’s always something.) There’s one in each category, the “Because” and the “Except”. These were “Books are like lovers, except books don’t get upset if you forget their names” and “Books are like lovers: you get really upset if a friend borrows one without telling you.” Someday, when I am absolutely positive no one in the library administration is reading the column, I’ll tell you about the one that I could only sit and stare at for four minutes. I don’t know whether that person stumbled on one of the great truths of life or I was just too exhausted from hauling banana boxes to react.
I see that just about two years ago today I blogged about first editions and mentioned that what you really want is the first PRINTING. Another one of my friends and colleagues died this spring (I thought I asked you all to cut it out) and I have not mentioned Charles Miner, whose book collecting was such that even when he bought a new book in a bookstore, he would always ask if he was getting the first printing. As you might expect, I never sold him a whole lot, but he liked to talk about books, and usually finished a conversation by telling me, “Well, keep up the good work, there.” I cannot afford to lose many more of these otherwise intelligent booklovers who think I’m doing good work, and I’m sorry he has moved on to a place where he will never run short of shelving space. (Especially since I just got in a book he would have liked.)
Who fed you this year? I know we thank these people in other places, but I want to toss in a plug for the people who feed the staff and volunteers during the Book Fair. (We’re always afraid that if we tell the volunteers to go out and get their own lunches, they’ll have those three-martini meals and not bring back a doggie bottle). Sandwiches and desserts and chips and fruit and vegetables came to us from Bistro Zinc, Café Baci, the Corner Bakery Café, D’Absolute Caterers, Edwardo’s Natural Pizza, Fox & Obel, Goddess and Grocer, Hearty Boys Caterers, J&L Catering, Jewell Events Catering, Occasions Chicago Catering, Tri-Star Catering, and Whole Foods Market. The Chicago Reader did some things behind the scenes for us, besides putting a couple of stands of Readers for our customers to take on their way out, and Whole Foods again had a little wine-and-cheese preview AND gave our bookmarks to customers in their store for a week before the Book Fair. And for the umpty-umpth year in a row, people carried their books around in T-sacks donated by Potash Bros. Market (barring the first night crowd who got the cloth bags from Whole Foods.) If you shop at these places, eat at these places, or arrange catering from these places, tell ‘em you appreciate what they do to keep the Book Fair on its feet. If you don’t patronize these places, go buy something there NOW and tell ‘em Uncle Blogsy sent you. (This will get you nothing but an odd look and maybe a day-old clam cupcake, but it’s all about word-of-mouth.)