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Monday, September 24, 2007

Groan... can't move... too many books...

I feel like such a glutton.

This Lifeline fair was pretty lousy for kid's books, according to Bumblebee, who kept his eyes peeled for Time Team books, but didn't find none (sorry, Mouse!). He found a few things he liked, but not many.

I didn't bother with fiction this time; the pile beside my bed is too high. Plus I was too excited by the fact that the Canberra Public Library and the Canberra Museum and Gallery had both had huge chuck-outs over the last 6 months, and there was the most amazing quantity of the kinds of books I like to look at (and read, over time). Mostly hardback volumes of poetry, printed in the 40s, 50s and 60s by publishers like Edwards & Shaw, Jacaranda Press, ANU Press and Angus & Robertson. All, of course, stamped and stickered, but nearly all in mint condition thanks to the fact that very few people borrow poetry from libraries. I've been doing up them up a bit, removing the stickers carefully, and the library coverings (I have my own acid-free book plastic), and I'm very pleased with my efforts.

I find the best way to tackle the book fair is to go on Friday sometime, and then again on Sunday afternoon. I couldn't make it until friday afternoon this time (around 2.45), and was pleasantly surprised at the lack of crowds. That first visit is when I buy things that I know will be gone on Sunday. Anything I hesitate over gets left to chance. On Sunday afternoon they sell a green Woollies bag-full for $10, and I can fit a lot into one of those bags! And nearly everything I'd left was still there.

Including something I'd left for at least 3 fairs now:

A hint at the kind of poetry inside the covers

Actually, I discover that I took that photo in April 2005! Finally, I plonked it in the bag. Only to get home and discover that the title poem has been ripped out! Heh. I now plan to take off the cover and make it into an altered book.

I think my best find (apart from one which I SWEAR I will blog in the next two weeks; it'll be a long post, and I'm a bit time poor, but god will strike me down if I don't share it with you) was a copy of Nan McDonald's The Lighthouse (poetry again), only because I'm trying to find everything I can of hers, and I found this at the very last minute, on a hastily-put-together poetry table that wasn't on the map and I found on the way out. Along with other beautiful volumes.

Seriously, I bought over 65 volumes of poetry, about 2/3 of it hardback and more than half of it via the green bags. Not all of it is stuff that I'll read closely; many of them I got for their design and cover production. One volume is a small-press letterpress production with beautiful deckled paper edges and a really natty cover by an Australian press I'd not heard of, but I'll do some research on now. There's something about those very formal hardcover volumes that I love, especially the uniformity of them on the shelf. And their covers are quite often very simple but very elegant printing, and looking at the real thing is always so much better than seeing reproductions in bibliographical studies. Most of these will be boxed up until I can set up my studio, where they will be looked at regularly. It's the print-nerd equivalent of loving 1940s fashions, and collecting vintage things to wear.

I also bought some old hardbacks and children's encyclopaedias to rip and tear and alter, as part of the Sturt Summer School I'm teaching in January. How could I resist an old novel called The Maker of Heavenly Trousers?

Bumblebee just startled me by appearing at the door of my study wearing an old purple slip of mine with two plastic Pokemon balls in the chest area as breasts (if you do not have boys, Pokemon balls are quite spherical, but the have a flat rim on one bit so they can sit flat on a shelf, and they sit well on a flat chest!). With his shaggy hair he looked amazingly female, like a 1960s actress playing in Streetcar Named Desire or something. He posed, put on what he thought was a feminine voice, and I caught a flash of the daughter I've never had, but twenty years down the track. It was a very weird experience. And then we cacked ourselves. He's such a little monkey.

Groan! We can't move for all the books. It was a good fair for 'preserving' books too, so BB has piles of cookbooks everywhere as well. We'll have to get compactors built into the shed...

9 comments:

Bernice said...

Or you all start sleeping in the back of the station wagon...
(those damn stops again & why a 'station' wagon? OK can figure the wagon but 'station'? McLeod's Daughter? Police station? Please explain...

Hil said...

Was that you at the osteo this morning? I was in the waiting room corner, so I only saw your back!

Ampersand Duck said...

Yes! Damn! Floating out after a major crunching...

Hil said...

LOL! And I was about to get one...

fifi said...

Ah! A lovely haul of treasures. I could almost smell them.

I just bought a nice old copy of dostoyevski to draw pictures over.
:-)

Mummy/Crit said...

Wow, what a haul. As you know I didn't go this year, i have enough to keep me going for a while. My (largely worthless collection) I started a few years ago, and is Aus kid-lit from the 60s and 70s. Mostly Ivan Southall and Eleanor Spence. What is interesting to me is how much writing for children has changed in those 40 years Ivan Southall vs John Marsden vs Andy Griffiths (is that his name?)

When I first started buying them there were lots. Now almost none. Reflecting the library clean outs I s'pose.

Ampersand Duck said...

That's a great collection, Crit. Kidlit seems to think wonder and silence is a bit naff these days, doesn't it? Unless it's in a different universe ;)

Dostoyevski! Are you using it randomly, as a general sketchbook, or are you theming the drawings?

Hil, I hope it was as good as mine. I was dreamy and vague all day.

chosha said...

I missed the book fair twice in a row. Oh the pain, the pain...

fifi said...

oohhh...
I still have my ivan Southall "Bread and Honey", as well as a good haul of similar ones, Patricia wrightson, etc. I received them when I was a little one, every birthday.

GOD i loved those books.

I agree, there isn't the same quiet space.

Re the Dosty-pages, I am going to draw the Place on the page, the scene described in the text. And probably random stuff too. yeeee haaar.

I am off to Russia in 10 sleeps.