You are already pre-qualified to read the rest of this article!
I stole that trick from one of those old 'draw this dog' matchbook cover challenges for whoever was selling correspondence course lessons in art from back in the day. Not intrigued? How about this alt-fact from a few years ago? According to a survey, I may have just made up, children who are raised with books in their homes have 75% fewer misspellings on their visible tattoos. See? Now you're impressed.
We are, I have been told, in danger of becoming an aliterate (not illiterate) society; that is, we know how to read but we choose not to. In our world today it's not just television, video games, computers or various hand-held devices which are changing our relationship to the written word, it's our tendency to regard books as a rationed resource or a luxury we feel we cannot afford.
I'm not saying literacy is a lost art, but in the not too distant future when Carmen San Diego finally finds Waldo, he'll probably be reading a book about striped shirts but holding it upside down (oh! the humanity!).
But this weekend, we can take and make a stand (and fill a home bookshelf or three) while saving some of the change we'd like to make in the world. Starting Friday morning at 9 with an Early Bird preview hour (ten dollars gets you first crack at delectables and collectibles), the Friends of Otis Library unlock the basement doors all weekend through Sunday for their Annual Spring Book Sale.
Aside from the Early Bird, the entire three days is free and whatever your heart, mind, and eyes desire can be found. All winter long, the Friends have been sorting and organizing for this three days. Sports, history, biography, gardening (Spring looks to have finally arrived), mystery, classics of traditional and modern literature and everything in between and yet different, are sorted, shelved and priced to move.
Don't let the name fool you. There are also CD's, DVD's, posters, and cassettes at prices so low you'll buy twice as much as you first planned for pennies on the dollar with the Otis Library benefiting from every purchase you make. In an era of shrinking governmental support being a friend of Otis (or in my case, just an acquaintance) is a way each of us can help all of us.
No matter which of the days you stop in (and free admission is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday and from noon to 3 on Sunday), despite what you may have been told, there is all kinds of free parking in downtown, just a few steps from wherever you wanted to go.
Perhaps after you've checked out the book sale, you'll want to visit one of the many restaurants that seem to surround the Otis Library (who knew reading could lead to ravenous hunger?). If you haven't been in downtown since the Fall book sale, shame on you, but that's for another time because there are even more great places open now.
If you're coming early on Saturday, before hitting Otis, be a little earlier and swing through Greeneville and stop at Quercia's on North Main Street at the intersection of 8th Street for the formal dedication at ten of the Greeneville Mural, a community project spearheaded by Faith Satterfield that brought together, as great art should, all kinds of people from everywhere.
It is beautiful both for what it is and what it shows we can do together.