Like the cut-open corpses in the old Alien Autopsy video, the hundreds of thousands of books at this weekend's San Francisco Friends of the Library Book Sale lay spread out for our delectation atop the tables in a long-abandoned military base.
In some ways, a sale like this is a post-mortem. We rolled up our sleeves, shoved aside heaps of brick-like Stephen Kings, and extracted from these last remains of a literate culture what life we could.
Like a book about how to make goofy ties. Surprisingly, that red one is not called "whale's tongue."
It's even more fun if you imagine the smiling fellows -- Dick, Harry, and Tom, for some reason -- are kites or balloons, only held to earth by knit goofiness.
Anyway, here's many more strange and/or upsetting discoveries from the sale.First, 1960's How Things Grow, which is a book about how things grow. Despite everything our culture does in the subsequent years to stop this, one of those things that grows is young girls: However varied Americans' shapes may be, here's one certainty: Our kids are the world's most strapping. It's a puzzle only Encyclopedia Brown could solve: Why did Bugs Meany beat Eddie Munster's ass?
At least in 1960 our kids looked that good. Remarkably, another illustration in this book captures the exact moment America's present obesity epidemic became inevitable:Even our sex guides make clear that Americans are no longer interested in giving 100 per cent. "On the seventh night, we Yahtzee!"
Still, there's some things to which we commit ourselves fully: