Friday, January 18, 2008

The Most Literate City in America, Part 3

After lunch, I find two five dollar bills in my sport jacket. Then Tim drove us to the University of Minnesota's Andersen Library, which houses, among other things, their Children's Literature Research Collections, an absolutely amazing collection of books, original manuscripts and art. The collection is housed in an enormous underground warehouse carved into the limestone beside the Mississippi river. Walking among the rows and rows of shelving and acid free boxes, we're told that the basement library would be the safest place to be during an atomic war. The most fun, too. I'd spend the last days reading through the Hess collection, which contains 60,000 dime novels, pulps, and early series books for children. Somewhere in the collection is the Detective Comics with the first appearance of Batman.

I find a ten dollar bill in front of part of the Sherlock Holmes collection. I turn it in, and later I realise that it is my change from breakfast. Easy come, easy go.

Then it was back to the hotel to rest before dinner with booksellers from a variety of great stores--Red Balloon, Bookcase, Wild Rumpus, and Barnes & Noble--at the Town Talk Diner. It is there I first encounter the Midwest phenomenon known as cheese curds, which are basically deep fried blobs of cheese. I am a fan of both deep fried and cheese, so life is good. Because I worry that my diet is perhaps a little shy of cheese, I also order a grilled cheese which comes with tomato soup. The soup rules, especially as I appear to be struck with a sinus infection or a head cold.

The booksellers are a warm, charming group of people. I used to be a bookseller, so after hearing a few tales from the trenches I risk telling Danny's Slightly Off-Color Bookseller Story. Luckily, it is a big hit, so much so I'm asked to tell it again. Emily and I are presented with Town Talk Diner drink cozies, which is great because I just threw out my Homer Simpson one because it left blue rings on my desk.

Once at the hotel, I go straight to bed, a bit worried because both of my ears are blocked and I'm expecting a painful flight home. I take an Advil and wake up sweaty, but my ears are miraculously free from pain. I wake up again at five a.m., take a quick shower, and meet Emily and Jenn in the lobby for the taxi ride back.
I find a twenty dollar bill on the sidewalk, and Emily spots another one a few feet away.

We get in the cab, and zoom off to the airport. And then things get interesting...

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