National Black Book Festival


Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Baby, I brought some serious books!!"


This past weekend, October 11 through 15, I worked at the Friends of the Charleston County Library “That Big Book” sale.  We usually have it at the Gilliard Auditorium in downtown Charleston, but that place is going through some major renovations, so the sale was moved to the Omar Shrine Auditorium in Mt. Pleasant.  Think of downtown Charleston as a hub of high end restaurants and stores, narrow streets, very, very expensive housing, the college, and a cozy, somewhat friendly atmosphere.  Whereas in Mt. Pleasant, which reminds me of Georgetown in DC, they have expensive grocery and clothing stores with an atmosphere of “I have big money” types. Some of them have generation money and some are just broke as the dickens and living well beyond their means.  Keeping up with the Joneses is passé, it’s now, “damn, the Joneses is broke too, but we can still live beyond our means.” Mt. Pleasant does have beautiful parks and walk ways, however.  CineBarre is a theatre where you can order food and/or drinks while watching a movie. I got there a lot. Whole Foods is the most expensive supermarket I have even been in, but I love the smell of the fruits and vegetables.  Since I’m on a Dave Ramsey Budget, I have to limit myself when I shop there, but, boy, its damn good food in there, damn good food!!!  They also have smaller regular stores.  It reminds me of a scaled down version of Georgetown, if you can scale down that posh place. 

The Gilliard Auditorium is big, but the Omar Shrine was bigger.  We had so much room to spread out the many tables of books.  We had more mysteries, religion, psychology, and biographies than last year.  We had more James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Anne Perry, Carolyn Hart, Catherine Coulter, Jonathan Kellerman, Stuart Woods, and many more.  These are the authors where I put together four tables just of their books.  I’m usually the one volunteer who tries to put all of the authors in one spot on the table.  I may not get the correct order, but if you are a serious book lover, you will bring your listing of books by your favorite author and peruse the tables to see if we have the one you are missing.  I usually take care of the other tables for cooking, fiction, non-fiction. I just go around straightening out the tables and asking the customers if they are looking for something particular.  I’m the “go to” person at the fair since I’m one of the volunteers who unpack the boxes, I see everything first hand.  

As usual, I’m the only one who the black folks ask, and this happens every year since I’ve been a volunteer, “Is there a black book section?”  I say, “No, but what are you looking for?”  I usually find what they want.  There are times, this weekend was one of them, where a black woman asked me the same question, but she really did not know what her friend wanted, just wanted African American.  I found BeBe Moore Campbell, Nikki Turner, E. Lynn Harris, Brenda Jackson and etc.  Each book I showed her, she would say, “Oh, not that type, my friend is not interested in urban.”  Ok, I find Alice Walker and Toni Morrison.  This Big Ass Dummy (I’m sorry, I should be nice), actually asked me who they were.  You would be proud of me I didn’t cuss, just told her that they are some of the most famous African American authors in the world and one of them won a Pulitzer for fiction and a Nobel Prize in Literature.  She asks, “what’s a Pulitzer?”  I just smiled and told her thank you for supporting the book fair.  Yes, Yes, I know not everyone knows who some of these African American authors are, but Toni, how do you not know Toni Morrison. You can probably tell I was disappointed and her husband (I think) kept smiling at me with no damn teeth in his mouth.  My people, my people, Lord help us!!!

Here are some pictures, book titles with author names of the 8 boxes of books I got this weekend.  I got books for the Bring Your Child To Work Day next year, two baskets to raffle off at a local middle school, a few youth books for these two young girls I met recently, and books for myself.  I just love it!  And a BIG yes, I did buy these books.  The prices were from 50 cents to $3.00.  I got a bargin.  A big bargin!!!  Just can't list them all, we would be all day.

I created a basket for a middle school to raffle off to get more funding.  They added a "nook" to it.  What were they thinking, a "nook.!"