Two for the Price of One | Newberry

Two for the Price of One

Sometimes, believe it or else, I repress my first response to one of those questions people ask all the time. I don’t know why, because my first thought is often shorter and usually more interesting than the more reasoned response I come out with. For example….

Do you ever dream about books?

Who has time to sleep?

The fact is that the last dream I remember, particularly, involved a hang-up in the selling of the leftovers from the Book Fair, necessitating a second Book Fair two weeks later. I had a LOT of trouble with this, because we had a lot of empty tables at the end pf the first Book Fair, and the volunteers kept wanting to arrange these in aesthetically pleasing patterns. There was also some minor difficulty with the people who were trying to set up a weekend performance of “Chicago” in the mezzanine of the library. THAT interested me because there had been a plan at one time to build a theatre-seating seminar room above those four glass doors which lead out to the parking lot, but….

Why do you sell books that are obsolete?

Did you know that “obsolete” is an anagram of “obese lot”?

The fact is that if I SELL something, then there must be somebody out there who wanted to buy it, and therefore it has not been too obsolete to make us money. If what you meant was “Why do you think you can sell books that are obsolete?” the answer is that no book is obsolete to someone who is looking for it. An Arizona roadmap from 1978 might be obsolete to someone making a trip today, but to someone who is writing a novel set in Arizona in 1978, this is an excellent resource. Whereas, of course, to someone who is writing a novel set in Arizona in 1957, that roadmap is far too NEW, so, once again, your point of view….

Are you accepting books for next year’s Book Fair?

No, thanks to this new time machine, I am accepting books for the 2008 Book Fair, so I can get all these copies of the Da Vinci Code off my hands.

The fact is that we are still discouraging book donations until after Labor Day. This is partly so I can locate everything I had to move to make room for all those talliers and checkers during the Book Fair, and partly so I can deal with all these donations which absolutely had to come in in the meantime. I have about 600 books all by one author, and somebody’s collection of coffee table books, and a coin-operated music box that would play “Home On the Range” if I could just unstick the overwound key, and there’s a really neat resin model of the Cheshire Cat and….

Is there anything you won’t sell?

I have utterly refused so far to sell the recipe for tapioca meatloaf. (The CIA is still considering its use in covert operations.)

The fact is that I have mentioned before I am now up to three copies of “Secrets of Making Methamphetamines”. I’ve been hanging onto those for at least three years, partly because I’m not sure what subject they’d go under. I once refused to sell a celebrity love note that had been left in a book as a bookmark. (It was not the least bit of use in blackmail.) And there are two works of art—a sketch and a painting—that I haven’t put out for sale, one because of the model and one because of the artist. And I haven’t priced that book you inscribed to your significant other, whom you described as a “Luvvly Luvver” and went on to say….

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