There was a column in this space not too long ago about people who donate books which have the start of an interesting story but not the finish. (Like that journal we were given which someone inscribed to her significant other that there was space here for all the expressions of love in their relationship. Yep, completely blank. Don’t even know which of the couple donated the book.) I don’t want to leave the faithful readers of this blog on pins and needles, so I thought we could spend a little time on additional notes to some previous blogs.
There have been no major developments in our DMS: Donations Missile System. There is, more often than not, a missile, or donation box, out on our loading dock (Lampe Landing) and a clear plastic box where you can write out your receipt and leave us the carbon. If, as the weather turns more interesting, you are worried about your books (the missile is way back in a corner, under the roof) the phone is still there so you can call up front and say “Hey, it’s a blizzard, and I just left a highly valuable collection of New Yorkers out back.” The door and the elevator in the front of the building are also available, though I don’t recommend that for any donation which would take more than one trip.
On the most recent donation of Naughty Books…I beg your pardon, our donation of interesting sociological and nostalgic volumes, a book has turned up which may have to be added to the Blogsy Library of Strange Sex Guides. This is otherwise a typical instruction book of the era: black and white photos showing nothing terribly explicit. What earns it its place are the photos in which a member of the couple has a letter R marked on their body (superimposed, not tattooed). Reading the intro you learn that the author of the book felt some positions described were for the uncommonly athletic, and she wanted to provide a more “Relaxed” alternative, marked with an R. Does this go along with the R-rated movies, which are also recommended for older audiences?
In the world of writing on boxes of donated books, we had a donation from a librarian who provided very good and detailed labels, from “Fiction, N to V” to “Icelandic Literature other than Laxness”. Don’t fret: we have his collection of Nobel winner Halldor Laxness (whose Independent People was considered one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century) as well. Other highlights include good solid (and labeled) collections of Thomas Mann, Raymond Chandler, B. Traven, Lawrence Durrell, and especially Harry Mark Petrakis. The Petrakis collection includes a CD of the author reading three of his short stories and a DVD of the movie version of his A Dream of Kings. It’s a fine collection, and the fact that it is packed in boxes with labels like “Complete Box of Books on Learning Dutch” just makes it even better.
Some years ago, someone donated a paperback of a Ngaio Marsh mystery. Someone in the marketing department had opted to call her, in big white letters, “The Master Mistress of Mystery!” This struck me as excessive. But I can think of nothing better to call Milly, the maven of the Mystery section at the Book Fair, whose ninety-third birthday we celebrated in this space in August. We have been informed that Milly has now gone on to see what Ngaio Marsh is writing these days, and Agatha Christie, and Raymond Chandler, and whoever else has made it to the spot where mystery writers go in the Great Golden Ultimately. Between providing mystery advice to the reading public, and large quantities of chocolate to the Book Fair volunteer squad, she was a pillar of our community. Never mind the bits about being invited to tea with Golda Meir, or taking Menachem Begin to lunch. Anyone who could keep our crew alive with Baby Ruths and KitKats and advise random customers on which mystery to read next must herewith be declared the Master Mistress of Merriment.