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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.

The Bard of Newberry

So, Uncle Blogsy, tell us about Shakespeare at the Book Fair.

He isn’t coming.

Well, I….

I don’t approve of big celebrity appearances at the Book fair anyhow: you need security and all other kinds of foofaraw. Celebrities are okay if they’re coming to buy books or cassettes, but….

Actually, Uncle Blogsy, we wanted to know about Shakespeare in the context of all the Shakespeare excitement coming up, the talk next Monday between a Shakespeare theatre expert and a Shakespeare library expert, and then the Shakespeare exhibit opening next Tuesday, all leading up to the big extravaganzas of 2016. What does the Book Fair plan to do with William Shakespeare?

Well, he is probably our most recycled author.

You mean you get a lot of copies that have been used by generations of Shakespeare lovers?

No, we get a lot of copies we toss in the recycling bin. Those have been underlined and highlighted by generations of Shakespeare students who duly noted everything the professor told them, underlined every difficult word, circled every obscene word they hadn’t seen before, and drew hearts around the names of their main squeeze. Sometimes I keep those, if the hearts are elaborate enough, but frequently the name has been blotted out with Magic Marker.

It might be interesting to take a hundred marked up copies of, say, King Lear, and see how many students wrote the exact same thing.

Bring your car around some time. I’ll load it up.

There always seems to be plenty of Shakespeare at the Book Fair.

True. I’m not sure whether those come from people who treat their books with respect or students who never bothered to open their books.

I’ve noticed the Drama section isn’t alphabetized at the Book Fair.

No. We’ve tried that, and people get so obsessed with their system that we wind up with big sections in I, O, and S–Ibsen, O’Neill, Shaw and Shakespeare–and everything else is kind of jammed out of the way. Anyhow, I expect a lot of the customers come looking for a play without knowing the author’s name in the first place.

Why don’t you have two Drama sections: one for playwrights with LOTS of plays and one for playwrights nobody’s heard of?

So William Shakespeare walks into a bar…

I know that one, Uncle Blogsy. The bartender says “You can’t come in here. You’re bard.”

That one’s nice, too. But in this one, the bartender says, “So how’re tickets to Hamlet sellling?” Shakespeare says, “Not so good. I have to make money selling things door to door.” The bartender says “Like what?” And Shakespeare says, “Avon calling.”

Thank you, Uncle Blogsy: I’ll never be able to look at Olivier again without thinking of that. Before we go, can you give us your opinion on the age-old question of “Who wrote Shakespeare?”

I did.

Really, Uncle Blogsy?

Sure. Wrote him last week. He hasn’t answered yet, but you know how international mail is.

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