Looking over the past year—as one is expected to do in January—I see a few items previously blogged about which could do with some updates. I know you want to keep up on the newest and latest in Book Fair news, or at least that you’d welcome some book trivia to distract you from the political trivia.
Several people noted after I listed the no-fail reference books that people are fanatics about that I had somehow omitted H.W. Fowler’s landmark “Dictionary of Modern English Usage”, still in print after 80 years, and one of those reference books people will sit down and read for the pleasure of it. Like The Joy of Cooking, it has plenty of fans who argue about which edition is the most fun to read (go for the early ones.) Like most authors of books on grammar and style, Fowler was never short of an opinion nor shy about passing it along.
I have turned up two more volumes for your shelf of Books With Well-Thought-Out Ttitles. A place should be reserved for “The Inspirational Study Bible” (the title of which distinguishes it from Study Bibles which are NOT Inspirational) and a spot—possibly rather farther down the shelf—should be kept for a how-to book called “Prenups for Lovers”. (Dibs on writing a book called “Prenups for People Who Don’t Like Each Other Much”.)
That 8-foot map of ethnic and language divisions of the world, which I mentioned as an example of a rolled object I GUESS I’m glad was donated, has had a pair of updates. The date of 1949 ascribed to it by the donor was not accurate: it turns out to have been published in Germany in 1938, making it, um, a map of ethnic and language divisions of the world published during the Third Reich, which might make its ethnic classifications a little more interesting. AND the donor, in passing, mentioned that the map did not come from her own collection. She found it in the alley after a couple of artistically-inclined neighbors decided to move to Greenwich Village, and divested themselves of surplus worldly goods by dumping 90% of what they owned in the alley. Rescuing a wall map the size of a bedsheet just so it could be donated to the Book Fair certainly qualifies this donor for the Too Good For Landfill Award. (The map was too good for landfill, too, but I mean the donor, since I seriously considered dumping her body in the landfill when I saw what she had brought in.)
I have had only one banana box of books so far in the New Year, but I have had no fewer than twelve garbage bags of hardcover books. (Garbage bags are bad for any kind of books, but paperbacks simply get creases in their covers, while hardcovers can get their covers knocked off entirely.) AND a second person has referred to these as “contractor bags”, a term I had not heard before 2011. I take it this is because if I put a contract out on you for bringing me 8-foot maps or banana boxes, this is the kind of bag you’ll wind up in.
That’s enough reflection on 2011. We must now reflect on 2012, and the build-up to the Newberry’s 125th anniversary. There are many concerns to deal with during so momentous an anniversary (which comes up in September), the main one, for a serious-minded blogger, of course, being “What the heck rhymes with quasquicentennial?”