Book Fair Blog | Newberry

Book Fair Blog

Every book has a story

Every book has a story.

Check in frequently to read the behind-the-scenes scoop on the Newberry’s popular Book Fair. The blog is maintained by “Uncle Blogsy,” otherwise known as Dan Crawford, Book Fair Manager.

Bookspotter's Field Guide II

Let’s look to the future today. We are facing what is known as the Unofficial Start of Summer, and despite my deep desire for my winter coat as I strolled in to work this morning, we must consider the impending season. We are going to do this by looking over several past blogs.

First off, this is a holiday weekend with plenty of rain predicted (that’s redundant). The Newberry is CLOSED. It would be best if you did NOT drop off books on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. Since we had some 80 boxes delivered yesterday, it might be nice if you held off today and next Tuesday, too, but that’s up to you.

Second, I have been reliably informed that we are moving into our new security system, which involves keeping those glass doors that open onto the parking lot locked at all times. So book donations will need to be made on the dock instead of in the missile inside the glass doors. If you INSIST on dropping off books over this weekend, the dock, having a roof over it, might be the place to do the job.

Third, we will look ahead to July by continuing what we talked about in last Friday’s column. We defined a few of the lines between tricky categories, and we have a few more we can discuss. (I don’t know why you should worry about it, really. If you don’t know whether the book you’re looking for is in Science Fiction or Children, look both places and you’ll be fine. But some people want RULES.)

Humor/Graphic Novels: This is another reason I never wanted to have a separate Graphic Novel category. Some people look at the panels and word balloons in them and assume that collections of Pogo or Blondie comic strips are the same thing. Yes, I KNOW some people do not regard Blondie as Humor, but that’s where she’ll be, all the same.

Games/Sports: I heard a volunteer tell a customer once, “Well, if you play it sitting down, it’s a Game.” Not bad, though he was, for the sake of a good rule, ignoring Darts and Bowling (which go in Games) as well as Horseracing (which is a Sport). And there are those who regard Bridge as a blood sport. Maybe we could say it’s a sport if you get your picture on a trading card for it.

History/Political Science: Political Science generally contains books on theory and philosophy of politics. Books about actual events–the political maneuverings in Congress during World War II–are to be found in History. All those books attacking the policies of Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton are in History as well: they were written about politics and written from a particular political angle, but they are dealing with historical events. An event doesn’t have to have taken place forty years ago to be History: it can be something that happened practically yesterday, like the events of Gerald Ford’s administration.

How To (Head)/Psychology: Any publisher bringing out a new self-help guide NATURALLY blazons the author’s reputation all over the cover. Any book on how to be the best human humanly possible would be doomed to failure without something like “Internationally Known Psychologist Tells You HOW!” This does NOT make the book a book on psychology. The books in How To (Head) tell you how to get in touch with your Inner Paragon. The books in Psychology tell you what Anna Freud theorized about where the Inner Paragon comes from, and what Dr. Schmielhausen theorizes about what SHE theorized. (If it has footnotes, it is almost certainly going in Psychology.)

Romance/Science Fiction: No matter how torrid it gets, if one of the couple is dead, came from another planet, or turns into a chipmunk under the full moon, the book goes into Sci Fi.

You don’t need to memorize all these things to have fun at the Book Fair. If you check ALL the categories, you’re bound to find a few sorting mistakes, but you’ll also find books you need to buy. All I really want you to memorize is that stuff about the glass doors and the loading dock.

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