Having made it through the three-day weekend of President’s Day (thank yous to those of you who dropped off books at every major entrance to the building while we were closed), we’re past the halfway point. It’s less than six months now until our legendary Book Binge, and so I have done my first boxcount, adding up what we have in each category (so far) to get an idea what can go where when July comes out of hiding. (July chooses these months to go stay with his cousin January in Australia. Must be true: read it on the Interwebs.)
There are not many surprises at this point. The big categories will be big again this year: we already have at least three tables’ worth of Art, Cooking, Collectibles, Children, Books and Authors, History, How To (Hands), and Reference. The children’s section has been augmented by a veritable avalanche of thick books set in worlds which are a) oppressive, b) post-apocalyptic, c) pre-industrial, or d) all of the above. Put that all together, and it spells depressing, which is the biggest trope in young adult fiction these days. Whatever happened to those bright, perky young adult novels of my day, which dealt with drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution…okay, maybe it’s like the songs you hear on honky-tonk jukeboxes at 1 A.M. Misery loves company.
In the mid-range categories, we have had, as noted hereintofore, scads of reinforcements in Law (all the JFK conspiracy stuff), Sci Fi, (all that UFO conspiracy stuff), and Philosophy and Science. We had two major donations of books on the philosophy of science: not as big as last year’s major shipment in that subject, even added together, but still pretty impressive. If there were books you didn’t find along this line last time around, you can fill in this year. By the way, that major Existentialist collection is from the same folks who sent the JFK collection. YOU analyze this; I’m busy counting boxes.
Other categories are still kind of teeny, though they keep coming along, game as ever in the back of the bunch. We’ve been promised goodly donations in the so far scanty areas of Dance, American Indian Studies, Large Print, Math, and Women’s Studies. Our newest category, which we are calling LGBT or LGBTQ or LGBTQ+, depending on whom you ask, is up to only two boxes, as of the latest count. As one of our volunteers wisely pointed out, “As soon as we decided on a category, people stopped sending us the books.” (Maybe they’re waiting until we decide on the category name.
In nonbook material, I can tell you we are well supplied with DVDs and CDs. Someone has been supplying us with large quantities of boxed TV series, from rather small sets of Downton Abbey seasons to the Complete Little House on the Prairie, some 60 discs in a little covered wagon. Yes, we have 24. Yes, we have Sex and the City. Yes, we have British mystery series. We will ALWAYS have British mystery series, 24, and Sex and the City. Kinda grateful to whoever gave us Dark Shadows, just for the sake of a little variety.
If you are looking for something a bit more retro, we have a respectable collection of videocassettes (especially children’s videocassettes, if you know any children who know that is), and a modest collection so far of LPs. No laserdiscs or 8-track tapes so far, and only a tiny selection of 78s and 45s. But we do have a harmonica and a recorder, so you can make your OWN music.
We are avoiding books on tape again this year, but we had one mighty heroic donation of books on disc, which will be found, as they have for the last few years, in the Large Print section. Yes, I KNOW the print on these boxes is rather small, but you don’t need to take things so literally (like the customer who wanted to put every nonfiction book into fiction if the New York Times review questioned its facts.
So at this point in the game, I would not say we absolutely have something for everybody, but we’re well on the way. (Have I mentioned the book of photographs of prize winning chickens?)