It was evangelist Henry Ward Beecher who inquired “Where is human nature so weak as in a bookstore?” A man who understood temptation was Henry Ward Beecher.
So for every person who took their purchases at the Dredge saying “Well, that’s half my shopping list taken care of!” there were three who admitted, “Well, I’m buying this for myself, really.” I understand these people and I support their courage in shopping for themselves. (Because that courage sure helps support me.)
Last night was the Associates’ Holiday party, or Dredge Party, or The Dredge, as it is sometimes known, and I did try to have a little something for everybody, from the Jingle Cats CD to the Harley-Davidson Cookbook. There was great interest in the paper doll books, with Dennis Rodman handily beating out William and Kate in the popularity contest. The pop-up books were also a big hit, though the pop-up Kama Sutra was left behind, and several people were afraid to open the pop-up book by Stephen King. (In the end, nobody bought the Dennis Rodman book, either.)
We had a full line of literary cookbooks, including cookbooks written pr inspired by Frances Parkinson Keyes, Inspector Maigret, Lord Peter Wimsey, Beatrix Potter, Nicolas Freeling, Margaret Mitchell, Myra Breckinridge, Encyclopedia Brown, and Winnie the Pooh. The Barbie Cookbook did not sell.
I put out a couple of Blog Specials, which is the name I have been giving to books made internationally famous by being featured in this blog. But neither Literary England nor The Blessed Mother Goose made any hearts flutter. I even put out the naughty salt shaker I did my best to make famous on eBay, but could not shock anybody into buying it.
What DID sell was somebody’s Perry Como collection: a Christmas CD, two two-disc CD albums of greatest hits, and even a Christmas concert on VHS. A LOT of people who were thinking of just walking past stopped short to look at Perry Como, and three or four of them studied that Christmas concert longingly, wondering aloud if they could even FIND their VCR. (Note to self: next year, Como on DVD.) I don’t suppose Dennis Rodman ever even considered the possibility of being less popular than Perry Como, but, based on sales as well as people stopping to look, somebody may have to tell him.
(If you do, and he seems downcast, tell him about the couple browsing in the paper doll books. She exclaimed, “Kate and William! You heard the big news!” Her husband inquired, “Mmmp?” “She’s expecting!” “Mmmp,” said he. Either he doesn’t know how to handle celebrity newsflashes or he was busy studying the different navel rings in the Dennis Rodman paper dolls.)
So a good time was had by all, and if I was surprised at how unexcited people were at the autographs of Judy Collins, Martha Stewart, and Alistair Cooke, I was surprised at how much they loved Perry Como and the Elvis Presley Cookbook (Are You Hungry Tonight?) They sang along on Silent Night, drank egg nog, ate cookies, and bought some really heavy art books. Carols, calories, and commerce: I call it a successful party.