I begin with a photograph of the windows of someone who should be elected Grand Wizard of Show and Tell Society when I invent it. (Note: I think the house was leaning, not LW, when she took the photo in Amsterdam a few years back.)LW missed out on Show and Tell, that classroom exercise of dubious value, when she was growing up. She regrets that none of her teachers ever suggested bringing something from home to talk about in front of the class. I, for one, suspect that Show and Tell may have been invented by some television sitcom writer and is not something any real teacher would ever encourage. But if S&T had been the norm in her day, LW would have been first in line with her Confederate five dollar bill (printed on the back: “Frontiertown, Ocean City, Md.”) or her oldest sister’s chewing gum wrapper chain.
LW has loved showing and telling since her pre-school days on The Farm when she would take visitors on a guided tour that, at any given time, might include a snake skin, a wasps’ nest, a locust husk, or a flattened frog. Could this interest in papery items foretell a love of books? Even now she enjoys what few New Yorkers do: taking out-of-towners on show and tell tours of the City—but only if the tour includes bookstores. (Below: Another set of windows, these from the environs of West Village, from a few years ago.)
As LW’s library, I acquired her penchant for showing and talking about her books. Some might say I AM her penchant for showing and talking about her books. At any rate, I thought it my duty to attempt this bookish blog, since modesty (possibly false, but I’m going with it) prevents her from doing so.
And so it follows that we both enjoy books that show and tell, such as encyclopedias, cookbooks, scrapbooks, catalogs, nature and travel guides, books about maps and mapmaking, graphic novels, and even school yearbooks. We are also fond of what I’ll call “object books”—books that use various objects to illustrate an aspect of history. Your classic show and tell. I will show examples in subsequent posts, but here is a sneak preview.