On Our Way | Page 44 | Newberry

On Our Way

There are still those who find your Uncle Blogsy somewhat negative.  I will remind you that I once sent a book proposal around for a self-help item I was going to call “The Power of Non-Negative Thinking” and all the publishers said “No.”  Who was negative THEN, if I may ask?

In any case, having spelled out some of the difficulties of starting up again after the Glorious Mass Hysteria at the end of July, it is only fair to point up some of the joys of seeing all the pieces come back together.  That’s what it’s all about, you know, in August, 2011: preparing for next year and the Fourth Annual 25th Book Fair celebration.

One of the joys is watching the day-to-day work begin again.  The New Year, you understand, really begins for me the day after the Book Fair, and I watch for the signs of normality as the customary joys happen for the first time in the new year: the first paper bag to have its handles come off when it’s lifted, the first box bottom to fall open and drop almanacs on my toe.  Each is a sign that things are returning to normal, and we greet them with little cries of bliss.  No, we have not yet had our first copy of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, nor even our first donation of books in banana boxes, but these will come.  In the meantime, we HAVE had

Our First Donation in Garbage Bags: not bad books, either.  I’ve never decided which I like worst: when I get garbage bags full of low-grade books, or when really good books are lumped together in one of these vinyl shrines

Our First Significant Standout (Oddball) Collection: Lots of people send us record collections comprising LPs of Brahms, Beethoven, and Bach.  But this time someone has given us the Russian editions of LPs of the greats.  These MUST be rare and collectible, but you have to wait until July, 2012 for them

Our First Collection of Library Discards: These come from the library of a major foundation whose name I will not give lest it embarrass them, but, really, they send us books no one else does.  They’re sent all the basic reports, you see: statistics on land development initiatives in Central Africa, enumerations of cases of various governments arresting journalists, tables and charts showing how philanthropic giving changed after September 11, 2001.  I am not sure how I feel about this hardcover report on how cell phones have changed Japanese society.  Do I have to read it, or is it available as an app?

We have even had our First Celebrity Donations: one from a living celebrity and one from a bygone.  I am keeping mum for the time being on the living celebrity.  He has always seemed to me a cultured, well-read chap and he may read this blog, for all I know.  (What does being cultured have to do with reading this blog?  Tut: you’re being negative again.)  Anyhow, this donation just covered authors whose names start with letters between A and G, and if I behave myself, I may get the rest of the alphabet.  (But ooh, the temptation!  This is the first time he’s given us books he’s written his name in, and I set aside all his James T. Farrells with an eye to eBay: Chicago legend reads Chicago legend.  Don’t tell him I said so.)

The bygone celebrity is someone I knew to speak to, and I’m not at all surprised that she collected records, or that so many of the records involved recorded comedy.  (Comedians on LP is one of our fastest-selling subcategories at the Book Fair, by the way.)  And it does not shock me in the least that so many of these records–especially the older ones, on shellac–are marked as unsuitable for airplay.  Remember our little discussion of “party records” a few dozen blogs ago?  She has a nice little collection of 78s by comedians who are supposed to have been brilliant but unplayable in mixed company.  I may have to go get a 78 needle for my gramaphone…all in the name of social research, of course.

Those are the firsts so far.  I’ll keep you posted.  If someone sends The Divine Secrets if the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in a banana box, maybe I’ll have them run up the flag while I go for the aspirin bottle.  For the first time this year.

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