I’ve got a filing problem. Some would say a book problem. But I like my books and I’ve acquired quite a few shall we say . . . “quirky” titles over the years. Now, with my computer if I’m not sure where to file, say, a cartoon, I just dupe it and file it in multiple places. But you can’t do that with a physical object.
Let’s start with this gem…
This is basically a collection of a certain genre of tales from “A Thousand and One Nights” — Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the so-called Islamic Golden Age, supposedly narrated by Scheherazade. *
So: Literature? Urban legends, Islamic literature, Eros?
Politics? Humor? Dictionaries? Each letter gets a word and snarky definition, so it’s kind of like Bierce’s 19th century Devil’s Dictionary, but with just one word per letter.
I particularly like “nincompoop” and this illustrated page for “L” featuring “liberty.”
Best of all…it’s holographic!
Of course I could just file it with my copy of Dancing with Jesus: Featuring a Host of Miraculous Moves but that doesn’t really solve the overall filing problem, eh?
I’ve had this next book since my days as the advertising guy for a big steel company in Warren, Oh. and the closest I’ve ever figured out where to file it is in a cardboard box where it unceremoniously revealed itself a month ago.Yes, it’s really a genuine metallurgical guide to alloy steel, as you can see from the first page of the Table of Contents — everything you need to know about electric furnaces, annealing, ingot rolling and quenching and tempering (my fave). Did you know that as early as the 8th century, the process of drawing wire through a die…well, never mind.
The 2005 iPod book comes inscribed with a dedication from someone whose name I can’t quite make out, but it’s definitely meant for me, referencing my alleged “iPod addiction.” I have to confess, I’ve never made it all the way through, having blocked my eyes at the chapter on “iBondage.” But: “Computers”? “Technology”? “Biography”?
Gitomer’s “Little Black Book” is actually more helpful than you might think, fascinating even, on the subject of entrepreneurial networking.
In addition to sporting a graphically sophisticated layout** in terms of typography, judicious use of color, subheads, it has some dang clever cartooning on each theme.
From my bookshelves’ point of view though, we don’t really have a “self-help” or “business advice” section.
And now, the highlight of my quirky book collections, before we finish up with weird stuff.
Fans of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver will remember the delightful hoopla about this children’s picture book about a “Very Special boy bunny who falls in love with another boy bunny” — a delightful satire, with a message of tolerance and advocacy, replacing the rather inane, noxiously unfunny picture book by Charlotte and Karen Pence about “Marlon Bundo,” a lonely bunny who lives with his Grampa, Mike Pence.
And now on to the weird stuff!
…but the others? Well, you decide.
So, librarians and book lovers: Where do I file these gems? (And please don’t say “Goodwill.”)
* Speaking of which, one of my favorite Egyptian writers, Naguib Mahfouz, who died in 2006, compiled a set of tales playing on the those themes, called Arabian Nights and Days. I in turn, having pilgramaged to his ancient Cairo district, developed a semi-improvised take on one of his short stories, “Ma’rouf the Cobbler.” My version, which runs anywhere from an hour to installments over several days, contains elements of Jinn (genies), the Ring of Solomon, civic corruption, hashish, coffee, sex and magic — all originating in Mahfouz’s “Cafe of the Emirs.”
**Typical page layout for the Little Black Book