by Craig Stark

9 February 2009

Suppertime for Frieda Fuzzypaw

Here's something you don't see every day - a common ca. 1991 Golden board book selling well north of $100. Until recently, it was commonly encountered and inexpensive. The author, Cyndy Szekeres, has published a number of other, similar books, most of which go for pennies on the resale market, as you would expect this one to. Difficult to explain unless you dig deeper.

Caylee Anthony's murder, I'm sure many of you know, has been very much in the news lately, both nationally, internationally - and, since the Anthony home is only a few miles away, I can attest to the fact that local coverage is even more intense - and it will likely remain a hot story, at least until the primary judicial process is completed. A copy of this book was found near the remains of Caylee, and she was shown reading it (turning the pages) in a video released after her death. Apparently it was her favorite book.

There has been a lot of discussion on book forums re the ethics of selling controversial books - e.g., bomb making, suicide how-to's, etc. - but I don't recall one that involved this type of situation. There is an especially good discussion ongoing on the BookThink forum specifically about the ethics of selling this book:

After informally polling some booksellers, I can safely say that almost all of them would have no problem whatsoever selling this book at whatever price the market drive it to. My own stand on this "ethical" question will probably satisfy nobody because it's no stand at all. Isaac Asimov put it than I could: "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right."

One's sense of morals are, ultimately, the result of conditioning (which includes learning) - that, and conclusions derived from thinking about things, discussing them, and so on. Concepts, in other words, one and all. What Asimov was getting at was that morals can get in the way if they're applied to situations instead of naturally arising, as though they have a life apart from us that we must surrender to; and when they are applied this way, they often do get in the way of what's right. What's right, in turn, is whatever arrives when a moment is met with one's eyes wide open, from a place of non-judgment, well above where morals are devised. There's no telling what the outcome will be in advance of these moments, but you'll know right has happened when something shines.

Oh - and if you're not familiar with the story, this is a good place to get up to speed:

You'll see 100 profit-producing books like this every 3 months in BookThink's Quarterly Market Report of Common, Profitable Books, each one presented in a clear format with bibliographic essentials and links to photos. Here is the actual entry for Suppertime for Frieda Fuzzypaw, #16 in QMR, issue #6 (soon to be published):

AUTHOR: Cyndy Szekeres
PLACE: New York
IMPRINT: Golden Books
ISBN OR LCCN: 0307122344
ISBN-13: 978-0307122346
BINDING: Hardcover

Purchase QMR issues here.

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Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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