Numbers | Newberry


So we’re just about done with our Quasquicentennial Celebration (the letter Q will never be the same for those of us who lived through it.)  If a down side can be detected anywhere, it is that, so far as I can see, none of my superlative suggestions was picked up on.  (I thought the one about handing out quinces to the people in line for opening day of the Book Fair was a real winner, too.)

But that’s all behind us now, and we have other great events to plan.  2013 is, as I may have mentioned only a few times, the fifth annual 25th Book Fair at the Newberry.  That translates, for the more mundane among you, as the 29th Book Fair.  (No, that’s okay.  I’ll wait while you count it out on your fingers: 25th, 26th, 27th….)

And what that all means, Hasenpfeffer Helper, is that next year, 2014, will be the SIXTH annual 25th Book Fair.  Or, if you like, the 30th Newberry Book Fair.  Seems like just yesterday I walked into room 101 and started piling paperback books on the old library tables.  Yeah, yesterday I actually was piling paperbacks on old library tables, but IN A DIFFERENT ROOM.  Stop trying to spoil the mood.

This means there will be adults at the 2014 Book Fair who were not born yet when we first put out our banner and had a lady dress up like Alice in Wonderland to try to lure people indoors.  (We didn’t need her to lure people indoors: it was pouring rain.  They all ran right past her to get in where it was dry, leaving her outside with a soggy pinafore.  Not even a rabbit with a pocket watch for company, but after thirty years, she may well have a white hare or two.)

I thought about suggesting that all people under 30 be required to buy at least 30 books, but that involves so much math.  So then I thought about offering a special deal on all books which made the top ten bestseller list for the year of the first Book Fair, which was 1985.  (I am NOT going to wait while you count this out: trust me, thirty Book Fairs is 1985 to 2014.)  I figure maybe I can offer any book that made the top ten for the year for only five bucks, and make lots of friends.

So, let’s see here: thanks to the Internet I can check which 20 books I’ll be marking down for you.  Um, ah, yes.  Two Danielle Steels, Jackie Collins, Sidney Sheldon….nothing that actually sells for more than two dollars.  Not going to make a lot of friends that way.  But that’s fiction; I should have remembered we don’t charge very much on fiction.  We can mark the nonfiction bestsellers down to five dollars, or seven of them for $30, to work that big number in again.

Okay: Iacocca, Yeager, Shirley MacLaine, A Passion for Excellence, Howard Cosell, Fit for Life, A Passion for Excellence….um, nothing on this list currently sells for more than about three bucks, either.  I’ll have to think this plan out again.  Maybe anybody who buys thirty copies of the books which made the top ten lists for 1985 (and I should be able to do thirty copies just of Iacocca) can go to the Bughouse Square Debates and read aloud from any one of them for 30 seconds.  (Stack up 30 copies of James Michener’s Texas, and we won’t even have to give you a soapbox to stand on.)

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