Newberry Boo Fair

I have been taken to task by one or two of my loyal readers (And since that constitutes about 80 percent of my readership, this is serious) for putting Christmas books on the carts in front of the A.C. (Approaching Christmas) McClurg Bookstore. It isn’t that my clear, pure logic for doing so escaped them. They just felt I should have more immediate concerns.

“Where are the Halloween books?” they demanded. “Halloween is next, after all, and it’s becoming a big commercial holiday. If you’re going to jump on seasonal bandwagons, why not that one?”

“Well, I have plenty of horror novels,” I said, “But besides being rather lower priced than a lot of things on the cart, they always seem to be the wrong ones. People tell me they HAVE that one: where’s the next in the series? So what else can I put out to scare people?”

I’m not in the market research business, and I don’t suppose I ever will be. It’s a prejudice I picked up while writing my thesis. I did not know whether or not to include a certain branch of my subject in the study, and wrote to a number of experts to ask their opinion. This is how I learned the one fact about market research I do know: Never Ask An Even Number of People. Six of the experts said yes, and six said no, leaving me about where I started. And this has sort of been my experience with market research ever since.

“Put out that book by [insert candidate’s name here]. It’s scary to think [he/she] might get in.”

“Put out Fifty Shades of Gray. It’s scary that so many people are reading it.”

“Here’s that latest book about the [dangers/joys] of global warming. It’s scary that people believe that stuff.”

“Here’s a book with Barney and Baby Bop. Now THEY are scary!”

That’s what’s wrong with this country, friends. Too many satirists at large. How is a mere blogger supposed to compete? However, two can play this game. I did get some items in last week that scared me.

Someone has just donated the Trump board game. Now, I do not let The Donald frighten me: in fact, I think he delivers good entertainment value. No, what frightens me is that I had a copy of this game once before, and it took three years before anybody would buy it.

I have received books and magazines this past week autographed by Nobel winner Isaac Bashevis Singer, Garfield creator Jim Davis, Homemaker Supreme Martha Stewart, and (ahem) me. What’s scary is that Martha’s autograph is worth the most.

To our sorrow, we have learned that a popular, long-time Book Fair volunteer, Lester Burrage, has left us for that grand eternal fair beyond the horizon. What’s scary about that is that his loved ones intend to send me all the books he bought at the Book Fair all these years.

And, by gum, somebody has donated a copy of Newberry 125, the grand and glorious book celebrating our Quasquicentennial. What’s scary about that—beyond the fact that they read it that fast and passed it back to us—is that I was working this Fair when the Centennial book came out. And they’re trying to tell me it’s 25 years between the Centennial and the Quasquicentennial.

Too scary. I’m going for the Christmas books.

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