Sunday, July 03, 2011


I've collected a number of small well-made boxes, mostly wooden, from my travels over the years. Some of them serve practical purposes. Others I just keep around on window sills, shelves, or dressers. This month, though, my preoccupation is with cardboard boxes, specifically boxes that we can pack in for our move. Moving companies sell overpriced boxes in several sizes, while Lowe's and other high-volume stores carry more reasonably priced moving containers. But liquor stores are the best source of free, sturdy packing boxes. I especially like liquor crates because they're just the right size for books. Our moving company estimates that we'll have 94 boxes of books, and we're well on our way to that number. The shelves in my study are now lined with boxes rather than books, and filled containers are stacked in various locations around the house. I find that Smirnoff vodka and cranberry boxes are ideal. The original contents wouldn't be of much interest to me, but the boxes are perfect. When I'm driving around I keep my eyes open for discarded boxes that I can use--such as the large toilet crate that was left beside the road down the street; that one will be perfect for large, lighter items that need ample padding, such as mirrors or lamps.

What makes a best seller? Ruth Franklin in Bookforum explains.