This week, the school is having a book fair. They’ve got the signs out in front of the school and posters advertising the sale of books in the library plastered throughout the halls. It’s got me kind of nostalgic.
I know I’ve said in my About Me section that I love to read, but that that love didn’t develop until after college, when required reading became a thing of the past, and reading for pleasure was actually something I could enjoy. But I remember being a kid and being so excited when the book fair was coming to our school. I remember more from the elementary school book fairs than the ones we had in middle school. And, really, the memories I do have are faded at best.
My mind pictures something like a traveling book store that showed up in the school library for a couple days. I know I always begged my parents for some money that I could bring with me so I could buy a few new books. And it isn’t as if the books offered were deep or anything. They were children’s books. The novels that you’d find were generally around 100 pages long. Though, these days, I’m sure you’d have more of the books aimed at the Harry Potter audience.
The book fairs are what introduced me to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series of books. I loved reading those stories over and over again. The stories weren’t actually all that scary. But the pictures that accompanied them? The stuff of nightmares… Also, in those days, for some reason, I was into Garfield comic strips. So the book fair usually gave me the chance to buy whatever the latest collection of strips was. These days, Garfield just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I mean, come on. He pushed Odie off the table. Didn’t see that coming. It just keeps on getting funnier every time.
I also have a vague memory of buying a book about a substitute teacher that turned out to be an alien. I think the alien may have been an early arrival or part of a future invading force. Why would anyone try to take over the world beginning with some random 3rd grade classroom? Now that I really think about it, the plot of that book is kind of pathetic. If anyone knows the book I’m talking about, back me up here. I think the title had something to do with the teacher glowing in the dark. Like one of those Cocoon aliens, only not as nice or floaty.
So let’s come back from that tangent. I think book fairs are cool. I just don’t get as excited about them as an adult as I used to. Probably because I can drive over to Barnes & Noble any time I want. Or, you know, browse Amazon. Who am I kidding? I’ll go into that book fair with the kids this week and I’ll look through the books and feel just as excited for about the first two minutes. Then I’ll be disappointed because all the kids want are books based on whatever crappy cartoons they’re watching this month.