Too many rules, that’s the problem. You start to do something, and people immediately begin to make rules. All I had to do was mention that I was putting Christmas books on the carts outside the A.C. (Amazing Choics) McClurg Bookstore, and people started thinking of rules.
“So you’re going to be taking the Halloween books away now, right?” someone said just yesterday.
I just looked at them and they kindly explained, rather slowly, “Because Halloween is over.”
Well, first of all, Halloween fell on Wednesday this year, so a lot of people decided to celebrate on the weekend after, or even on both weekends. Second, books about vampires, ghosts, and cemeteries are never really out of season. The ones on pumpkin carving may be unusual in November, but, hey, if they go back to the Book Fair I sell them in July.
More than one person, however, has explained to me, also spacing the syllables for easy comprehension, “Thanksgiving is the next holiday. Where are the Thanksgiving books?”
The problem, caraway gravy, is that there aren’t all that many. Books about pilgrims and turkeys, or even Squanto and Samoset, belong to the grade school crowd and generally come to me much scribbled on. Cookbooks fit for this holiday are generally simply called Holiday Cookbooks, and can suit just about any family gathering from October to January 6, depending on which Midwinter Holidays you choose to put out the symbolic feast to show winter you have plenty so you’re not scared. (Remember that, if someone scolds you for that fifth piece of pecan pie. Overeating is a sacred symbol handed down from our ancestors and we’d best not mess with it.)
The only other sort of Thanksgiving book that comes in is the kind that reminds you how much you have to be thankful for. I have one of these myself, though I may pass it along to the carts, called 14,000 Things to Be Happy About. It is a 612-page paperback listing things to bring you joy, from “pajamas at breakfast” to “dozens of places to curl up with a book”. Books and food make up a goodly percentage of the 14,000 items, but I have not computed the exact proportion.
That’s a long list, but I’ll bet it doesn’t include some of Uncle Blogsy’s list:
People who throw away their phonebooks at home instead of donating them to me
Boxes of children’s books with drawings on the box by the children who read the books (and drew in them, too. But I can be happy it isn’t all brown crayon)
People who call up to find out what their prize book is worth and, on hearing that it really is worth something, say, “That’s great. I’m so glad to be donating something that will do you some good.”
Boxes of books which, even when full of phone books, are still good boxes for use once the contents have been thrown away
People who saved not just the front page of the newspaper from some historic event, but the whole paper (so I can read the comic strips)
And, of course, one seasonal note, which may actually be in Barbara Ann Kipper’s book: the fact that Election Day will soon be behind us and, even if we’re stuck with half those people in the campaign commercials, the other half WILL go away for a while.