Oh, You Shouldn't Have | Page 2 | Newberry

Oh, You Shouldn't Have

June is a month which brings out the human race’s grander side. It brings out the generosity in the species. It brings out the spirit of giving. It brings out the warmth of which we experience little enough in this cold, fast workaday world.

It brings out the book donors, is what it brings out.

I would understand why so many textbooks come in in June and December, except so many of the ones coming in have obviously been in storage for years. Come on, canoli giblets! You’re out in the real world now: you don’t need to wait until the end of semester to unload that Economics textbook from 1975. (And there’s someplace closer to home you could unload it, too, if you’re in a community that recycles.)

I think at least half the sets of encyclopedias people send us come in this month (or early July). My theory about that is that you took them out of the bookcase to make room for your DVDS, and stacked them up in the corner in front of your calendar. So you didn’t realize the snow had melted and we were sneaking up on summer.

Technically, of course, it is still spring, so maybe it’s all a matter of realizing that spring cleaning should not extend beyond the summer solstice. This explains all the collections from basements and attics. And a few people in the neighborhood seem to be redecorating Victorian bookshelves, those fine old wooden boards which have been holding pretty leatherbound sets since the Columbian Exposition. Painted your ceilings three times since 1893, I see. Dribbles of paint on the red leather spines told the tale.

So the sets of Dickens and sets of Hugo and sets of Dumas have been flooding in, many but not all with their spines still attached. Some of you had great-grandparents who bought the sets in the cheap, thin leather and some of you had ancestors who went for full morocco. All of your ancestors had descendants who regarded these books as just so much furniture, or you’d have packed them better. I expect my death certificate to list the cause of death as “Lungs Filled With Dust From Cheap Leather Spines”. They crumble away to nothing if bumped and the covers drop off. Run back and tell your grandparents, next time you rev up the time machine, so I can live to sort a few more copies of The DaVinci Code.

Those of you who packed books bound in full morocco need to be more careful as well. The covers don’t fall off nearly as easily, but you can rip little strips of the leather away through careless handling. This lowers the price. (Fortunately, you did NOT do that to the book which prices out at around $6500. I’d have called you personally to ask you if you knew about this little brown morocco treasure, but you dropped the books off anonymously and ran: another sign that you considered them as old furniture.)

Summer is also the time of year when one goes out to play golf, which means one can give away all those books on golf one has been studying all winter. This explains those four boxes of golf books. There was a box of baseball books, too: perhaps another example of not needing the text now that the real thing is again available. This lot included a book Ernie Banks had written his name on. (More celebrities should sign on the outside of the book; this makes it possible to show off the books’ finer points without having to dream up ways to prop them open.)

Well, anyhow, it’s nice to see people being so generous now, since we shut off donations at July 3, and they won’t be bringing anything in after that. (Writing THAT is a sign that I’d better lie down for a quick nap; this spirit of generosity has obviously quite overwhelmed me.)

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