Saturday, September 24, 2005

Lifeline Book Fair goodies

Best Beloved and I went to the Lifeline Book Fair yesterday. I'm giving you a photo, but it's an 'after' shot, on Saturday, after the Friday hordes have descended.

BB always takes the day off work on the Friday and queues up to get in early. He usually rides down on his bike at about 8.30am and finds a queue of about thirty people ahead of him. Many get there at Dawn's crack, and set themselves up with chairs and hot coffee. I take the boy to school, and drive the car, arriving at about 9.45 (opens at ten) with my wheelie trolley and some green Woolies bags. Not very cool, I know, but I am gazed upon with envy by all and sundry later on as they stagger around with armfuls of heavy books.

So, why get there early? It's not so much for the early start on the books as to watch the book loonies go mad. The doors open at 10 sharp, and I really enjoy watching these people run towards the trestle tables and wrest armfuls of books from each other. It reminds me of my teenage Xmas job at the Sydney Elizabeth St David Jones, in the women's shoe department. There would be a distant rumble, then a pack of desperate women would charge up the wooden escalators towards the shoes, grabbing whole armfuls and sitting in corners to try them on. In this case they charge for the Military History table, and wage war on each other.

I have a game I play as I look at the books. I walk up to a category, put my hand down on the books, look all around the area, and then lift my hand to look underneath. I'm always hoping something really cool will be under my hand. So far, nothing. Most of the time the things I'm interested in are over the way a bit, but one day I'll lift my hand and feel a thrill. So far I've only laid my hands on Rod McKuen poetry and frigging Nanushka. Erk!

There's always one outstanding buy, and this time for me it was Oliver Simon's Introduction to Typography (1947). Only $2.50! Ha, a collectable design classic, and they shoved it in with the dictionaries. I'm so happy.

Here's some of the other things I picked up:

-- 293 Renaissance Woodcuts for Artists and Illustrators, Jost Amman
-- The Collected Drawings of Aubrey Beardsley, Arthur Symons
-- Modern Boy, Modern Girl: Modernity in Japanese Art 1910-1935, AGNSW catalogue (this is an absolute ripper of a catalogue)
-- Michael and Me and the Sun, Barbara Hanrahan (already have a copy, but this is to lend to friends -- should be mandatory reading for all printmakers)
-- Francesco Conz and the Intermedia Avante-Garde, Qld AG catalogue

-- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the Dust Waltz
-- Tank Girl 4: the Apocalypse

-- John Betjeman's Collected Poems (1958), hardback
-- Penguin Modern Poets 9: Denise Levertov, Kenneth Rexroth, William Carlos Williams
-- Philip Larkin, The Whitsun Weddings
-- Sylvia Plath, Crossing the Water (1979)
-- Joseph Brodsky, Selected Poems
-- Australian Poetry 1973
-- Instructions for Honey Ants & Other Poems, ed by Paul Kavanagh (1983)

-- Libby Hathorn, Heard Singing, 1998 (this was bought more for the production, beautifully presented and bound, with papercut artwork by Brigette Stoddard. I'm hoping the poems match the beauty of the illustrations.)

-- No Go the Bogeyman, Marina Warner, 1998. (been wanting this since I read bits in the Uni library once)

I didn't buy much fiction this year, only

-- This is the Grass, Alan Marshall (hardback, first edition)
-- The Tortilla Curtain, T. Coraghessan Boyle
-- The Tasmania Babe Fiasco, John Birmingham

Add into that some Star Wars and Superman comics for Bumblebee, and I'm pretty happy with that lot! BB bought his own stash, but it was mostly books on breadmaking and travel in India. He did find a couple of Ardizzone books he didn't already have, so I guess he's happy too.

Only six months until the next one!

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