Outside Reading | Page 59 | Newberry

Outside Reading

I know you wonder what I’m going to do while I’m away from my blog over the Thanksgiving holiday. I am going to worry about you, oh lobster lasagna. Some of those things you have been dropping off by the metric ton (hey, if your relatives can’t stand the sight of books in your apartment, invite them to dinner at some nice, neutral restaurant) have left me with deep, unanswerable questions about life and books.

You’re still sending in inscribed books. Oh, yes, I like them inscribed by the author. But some of your other inscriptions are interesting in their own way. I liked the book which read—at this point—XXXXXXX + RODNEY. I have a whole bushel of issues with that, onion blossom. Why just X out the name at the top of the page? Why did you leave the plus sign, if this pairing was to be eliminated? Why not x out the whole inscription, or are you superstitious about crossing out your own name? Or DID you cross out your own name, feeling yourself unworthy of Rodney? You could, I suppose, have torn out the page, or donated it un-xed, since you were getting rid of it anyhow. Did you think I’d take notes?

Did you think anybody could bother to worry about a mere smear of indelible ink?

I was also kind of wondering about “Happy Father’s Day, 1997!” No no, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that there was another copy of the exact same book in which someone with very similar handwriting had written “Happy Father’s Day, 1998!” Yeah, that happens, but it make me wonder. Did you buy him two copies of a book he didn’t like? Or did you buy him three, and he kept the one from 1996?

Would anybody out there like to explain “To the Pusher From the Puller?” Before you explain, tell me first, in twenty words or less, whether you think I really want to know.

There’s this true crime book where about six people have signed their names, adding a page number afterward. I’m, um, KINDA curious about what it all means. Would you like to explain it to me, or should I just pass it along to, say, the FBI and let them indulge THEIR curiosity?

And while we’re on the subject of writing in books: those crossword puzzle books you sent me with all the puzzles done. What market did you intend these for? If you thought somebody was going to buy them and frame them as a monument to your crossword ability, you could have mailed them directly to that person, and cut out the middleman. (Which, in this case, is the fellow who drives the recycling truck.)

Anyhue, have a happy. While you’re downing sweet potato pie with Reddi Whip (or ducking under the table while the kids point the cans of reddi Whip at each other) I will be at home pondering why what the author of a book writes is so often less interesting than what the owner writes. At least it keeps me from making my legendary turkey liver pizza and taking it to shut-ins. 

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