Shorter Stories in Boxes of Books | Page 57 | Newberry

Shorter Stories in Boxes of Books

People have asked whether I have found other tales of life and love on the loading dock. (In boxes of books, child; we don’t let people live and love on the loading dock. It steams up the security camera.)

A person of observation and imagination could make up dozens, really. It is important to keep remembering that the books which are dropped off are usually those the person has finished with. Without knowing what the donor kept one doesn’t really have the whole picture.

But sometimes a part of the picture is all I need.

Those huge boxes of videos tell me who’s gone all DVD.

Books arriving in banana boxes tell me who doesn’t read my highly informative blog.  And when you use leaf bags…no, that’s a story for another day.

I know where you went in Mexico last summer. Thank you for ripping out all the pages for the places you planned to visit…and then stapling them back into the books when you got home.  AND then giving me the books.

Several of my colleagues were upset to find me offering a wedding album for sale.  It obviously originated in the mid-70s, and since you don’t have to be me to come up with a story, they jumped to the most obvious unhappy conclusion.  My suggestion that it could have been a sample in a wedding photography studio didn’t go over, so I said, “Well, can’t you look on the bright side, at least?  Maybe they both died.”  Try to boost someone’s morale and all you get is dirty looks.

We had five boxes come in filled with books on how to play bass guitar. Tucked in at the bottom were about six books on attending law school and two on raising children. Another bass player gone over to the dark side, I guess.

I’ve blogged already, of course, about the man with the big collection of books on the Battle of Gettysburg, who was apparently in search of some that would back up what his father told him about it.  I didn’t find anything to tell me whether he had succeeded.

I cheated. I Googled the man who gave us all the books on postwar Philippine history, to find out if there was a story. Turns out he was in the Philippines during the war—counterintelligence—and kept up on the subject for sixty years thereafter.

Three or four music reviewers drop off their excess CDs at the Newberry Library, and I must report that about half of these musical gems are unopened. That tells a story.

Unopened belly dancing kits tell a fairly clear story, too.

I love the dog-training manuals that come in with one corner chewed off

Four generations of books inscribed to boys on their Bar Mitzvahs tells me several things about ya, not least something about how you regard your ancestors. (How many other people would lovingly preserve a novel by Israel Zangwill just because Great-Grandpa got it when he turned 13?)

And those books on how to catch a man which are dogeared…double dogeared…underlined…highlighted…. Well, yes, I know: that tells me only part of the story. But, um, I’m not Paul Harvey. In this case I don’t really need to know the rest of the story.

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