Santa Blogs XXXII | Newberry

Santa Blogs XXXII

Dear Santa Blogs:

I am another of those readers who have thrilled to your annual admonitions to give people used books for Christmas. (I especially like them when you do NOT set them to the tune of, say, The Chipmunk Song or The Red Shoes.) But I do wonder, sometimes, whether I shouldn’t extend my offerings. I’ve sent people so many books over the years that I wonder if maybe a fancy leather bookmark or bookend with a bust of Walter Newberry on it might not go over just as well. What do you think?

Just Unclear, Not Complaining

Dear JUNC:

We at the Book Fair sell bookends and bookmarks too, so I think I can be objective about this question. Furthermore, there is a lovely bookshop on the first floor with wonderful deals on exquisite objects. I DO want them to have a wonderful Yuletide selling season. So my advice will be short and sweet: one word, in fact.


You know your nearest and dearest better than I do, Junc, but your average booklover loves books above other library objects. This is NOT to say that they can’t appreciate a bookish accessory, or that they’d hate it. It’s just that most book people would rather have another book than

BOOKENDS: I try, myself, never to have enough space left on a shelf to NEED such a thing. They may be ever so nice, but they take up space that could be ioccupied by two or three more books. The best use I ever got out of bookends was on open-ended shelves where I needed ANYTHING to keep the books in place. Even then, I used those plain, flat metal ones, which would a. take up less space and b. not break if the books and gravity won the battle, sending them to the floor.

BOOKMARKS: I like a fancy, clever bookmark, myself. One of my million dollar ideas (which have so far not paid dividends) was a line of beautiful artistic cardboard slips which said merely ‘OFF’. (You’d know where you left OFF.) But so many of the really fancy ones are too thick, bending the book, or based on your basic paper clip design, permanently bending the page. Anyway, your book addict is most likely to pick up anything reasonably flat. That’s what makes Book Fair sorting such sport. We’ve had two checks lately, and a few photos from your lodge meeting, and about fifteen plane tickets. You can’t find a bookmark like that liposuction invoice every week, but we keep hunting. (No fifty dollar bills lately, either.)

BOOKSTANDS: This MIGHT be useful is your recipient has a book worth showing off, or maybe an unabridged dictionary to keep at the ready. One of our late lamented volunteers had an antique book of Japanese orchid paintings, which she had out and turned a page every day, to start the morning with a new flower. But for most folks, this is just a way of having one book take up the space of six.

READING LIGHTS: Who invented these gimmicks which supposedly attach to the top of a book and cast light down the page, for those who read in bed, next to someone more interested in sleeping? I used to get them Free With Order, and the free ones, at least, never cast the light where it would be useful, and are never quite secure on top of the book, besides clamping onto a page so you have to remove them to keep reading to find out whether Lance Luger gets the bad guy or not. You’d ALMOST be better off giving in and buying a Kindle.

Book snakes, which used to be sold at the Newberry, are fun to play with (these are cloth weighted noodles used to hold a book open with minimal damage to the book) and some people like bed booktrays, but I think you know what I might say about those. The fact is, Junc, that the one thing every booklover wants besides books is Space To Put Books. When I learn to package that, you just give me a call.

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