Bibliomania

If you own more books than you can possibly ever read, and you still prowl used bookstores and garage sales to add to your treasures, and you remain unsatisfied, you may have Bibliomania.

Bibliomania is the title of Gustave Flaubert’s first published story. It’s a tale about a Spanish monk willing to kill to add a coveted book to his collection. Bibliomania is also the title of a more modern treatment of this theme, a delightful animated short you can view at http://www.vimeo.com/36884524. We recommend it.

Natitude!

It took a long time for it to sink in—just how good the Washington Nationals team was this year.

Major League Baseball in Washington, DC, has been a study in futility. No playoffs since 1933, only three winning seasons after 1945, no team at all 1972-2004, worst record in baseball as recently as 2009. The original Senators (1901-1960, also known as the Nationals), the replacement “expansion” Senators (1961-1971, still affectionately often called the “Nats”), and the more recent team transplanted from Montreal and called the Nationals once again (2005-present), had a common characteristic: they were usually bad. It took all-time greater pitcher Walter Johnson, one of the five original members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, to propel Washington to a World Series win. Once. In 1924.

To make this book-related: consider the 1954 novel by Douglas Wallop titled The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant. The perennial losers (Senators) managed to beat the perrenial winners (Yankees) for the American League championship. How? Their star player sold his soul to the Devil. Not gonna happen otherwise. (FYI, the novel was adapted into the 1955 Broadway musical Damn Yankees.)

But this year was different. Team with the winningest pitcher in the Major Leagues? Washington Nationals. Team with the most wins in the Major Leagues? Washington Nationals. Team with the best 19-year old player? Washington Nationals? Earliest team to clinch a Division Championship? Washington Nationals. Team just one strike away (twice) from going to the National League Championships? Washington.

And then the dream ended, for a while.

Now it’s taken a while to sink in again—just how good the Washington Nationals were this year.

We’ve got Natitude!

Oldies AND Goodies

From time to time in our store we post a “literary trivia” question to entertain and challenge customers. Here’s one from the past: What is the all-time best-selling children’s picture book in the U.S.?

According to a study published in Publisher’s Weekly magazine ten years ago, five of the top ten titles are from the Little Golden Books series. Almost all of us are familiar with this series from our childhood or from parenting days. They continue to sell steadily in our store.

Included in the top ten are Golden Book titles Scuffy the Tugboat, Saggy Baggy Elephant, Pat the Bunny, Tootle and, at number 1, The Poky Little Puppy!

It’s interesting how the tastes of children, or at least their personal book-buyers (parents), remain consistent. The highest-ranking picture books published after the 1950s were titles from Dr. Seuss (later books) and Shel Silverstein. Of course, they may have moved up in the rankings over the past decade. The highest-ranking non-Golden Book was The Tale of Peter Rabbit from 1902.