Monday, July 20, 2009

The Sunday Table

Today is Monday, but I'm a bit of a tardy person, so Monday is a perfect day to introduce a new feature on the Bunny Eat Bunny blog: The Sunday Table.

I live in a building -- we can call it 1455 West End Avenue -- that's filled with bookish people. A poet lives underneath us. An editor lives upstairs and down the hall. There are a couple of leftist journalists and bloggers, one on each elevator bank. And so, like many buildings in New York, 1455 has a book depository: a ponderous old walnut table in the hall where volumes that are unwanted by one apartment's denizens are happily -- even greedily -- snapped up by another's.

It entertains me to see what stays, what goes. And Sundays are a particularly good day to rifle through the table, because people are always making resolutions to clean and pare down and edit on the weekends, so the table fills up. (I have already found Steve Martini's The Judge on our own kitchen table, courtesy of my husband's very very bad book habit.)



If you look very carefully you can see that The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks is covering up a Dick Francis volume, though I can't see which one. I tend to date my career in publishing by volumes like The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks. In 1988 I was working at Scholastic's Apple imprint, editing books very like this one. We all went in for those photo-real images back then: covers that screamed,"Oh my gosh, what wacky things are happening in this story?!?" I'm glad that trend is past, but I know a lot of kids who still love that look. And note the success St. Martin's had with Ted Bell's Nick of Time just last year.

What do you bet that John Grisham's The Chamber is gone next Sunday, if not sooner, and that Time's Great People of the 20th Century will have trouble finding a home. High Blood Pressure for Dummies seems like too silly a title for anyone to pick up ("It's the salt, stupid!"), but there are niche markets in every building, so I won't bet on it.


My own contribution to the table this week, E. Lockhart's Dramarama, of which I owned two copies, disappeared between taking these photos in the early afternoon and coming home in the early evening. Maybe it was the sexy cover or the title or the author's excellent name. Or maybe the Sunday Table is too hard to pass by without taking a bite.

10 comments:

Michael Smith said...
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brattcat said...

I would take Great People of the 20th Century and leave The Magician's Apprentice which I just donated to our local hospice shop (the small town equivalent of your building's Sunday Table).

Rick Daley said...

I've always had low blood pressure and I eat tons of salt. I don't have a sweet tooth, for me it's chips and nuts. Can you snag me that For Dummies book so I can figure out what I'm doing wrong?

;-)

David Macinnis Gill said...

It's *so* not the salt. That "research" was largely a fabrication and has little empirical evidence to back it up.

magolla said...

This is such a cool idea!
Living smack dab in the middle of the country, our apartment complexes are as sprawled out as our cities--we tend to like our personal space--and this type of sharing wouldn't happen, which is odd considering we're southern.
When I go through my books homeless shelters, libraries, and the abused women/children's shelter get my donations.

Life's Beautiful Path said...

Being a member of the Friends of the LIbrary in Baxter County,I would grap the leftovers for our booksale that helps fund our library.

lizzy_lyn said...

My office has a book depository. Mostly thrillers, romances and murder mysteries, though. I'd rather read The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks. In fact, I suspect there is just such a plant living in my washing machine.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Late in 1988 I began working on the illustrations for my children's Picture book... PYXX

It's kind of a collector's item now. At least it's still selling, but I don't get royalties!
(Shameless plug, goggle, Robert Wahl PYXX)

Haste yee back ;-)

Tracy said...

What a great idea. We have a yearly library "cleanout" sale where you can buy hardcovers for 50cents to a dollar and paperbacks for a quarter. It's awesome, but free books on a coffetable in your own building is even better!

Brenda Bowen said...

UPDATE: All the books in the photos have found homes. Even the ones in Danish (see latest blogpost). Now on the table: an over-elaborate cookbook holder, way too big for NYC kitchens. We'll see how long it is before it finds a taker....