Summit-Time, and the Living is.... | Newberry

Summit-Time, and the Living is....

            One of the useful things about the Harry Potter books is the occasional phrase or incantation useful in one’s daily life.  Ron Weasley, for example, provided me with the perfect testimonial for all those of you who dropped off books on the Saturday of NATO Summit weekend.

            Are you mental?

            Do you really mean that in spite of everything the media did to terrify you about traffic and the possibility of mob action, you felt the Newberry could not go one weekend without your copy of The Da Vinci Code?  It isn’t that I MIND finding twenty-four shopping bags of books on the dock.  It’s that, having been properly cowed into trembling terror by the constant coverage of the Summit, I approach each bag with a butterfly net in one hand, a canister of bug spray in the other, and a machete between my teeth.  Any book which cannot respond with the proper password gets a shot of the bug spray so any tiny blue terrorists inside will run out into the butterfly net and turned in to the authorities.

            The machete?  That’s for use on anyone with a banana box.

            In any case, this provides an opportunity to remind you that the library is shut for Memorial Day Weekend.  That’s next weekend, through some amazing Fast Forward button on the calendar, and the doors will be closed Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  The gate to the parking lot will be chained, the guards will not be answering the doorbell, and no one will be available inside the building to do anything at all about your books.

            Having now guaranteed that I will find at least fifty shopping bags on the dock next Tuesday, let us turn to some of the goodies you dropped off when you should have been hunkering in your basement, dining off emergency rations and listening to the news on your crank-operated radio.  (Do you suppose the whole Summit was arranged simply to boost news ratings during a sweeps period?  I’m just asking.)

            We have had our first copy of the latest underground classic, Fifty Shades of Grey.  I knew, as I did with Blago’s autobiography, that I must eventually get a copy, and now need no longer dread the day.  It has been suggested that I put this in Romance, Science Fiction, How To, and the Recycling Bin, but I am not going to rush into a decision.  I’m hardly past the first chapter, after all.

            A book reviewer who has been passing along dainties he was sent for review has sent us a collection of some of the most mournful-looking books of poetry I’ve seen for a while.  Nature always sends rain when someone is a) making a hardboiled detective movie or b) taking pictures for covers of poetry collections.  I take it a law was passed in the late 50s that nobody was allowed to write cheerful verse.  Poems about dying of dread diseases, by the way, should be written only by people who are dying of dread diseases: they have insight into the question and their output will necessarily be brief.  It’s enough to send me online in search of blithe poetry.  Anyway, none of it is up to the level of Leo Albert’s epic “Sad Are the Sad”, about which I have blogged before.

            I am always receiving small collections of smutty paperbacks from the 50s and 60s, but I have actually turned up one which is signed by its author.  This is going straight to eBay, peppered prunes: surely my customers are too innocent to be exposed to such a thing.

            Hey, to judge by how much they dropped off on Saturday, they don’t even risk watching the news.

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