Friday, March 07, 2008

good grief, my eyes!

Picked up Bumblebee from school at 3.05 and within ten minutes we were trawling the stands at the Lifeline Book Fair. Bliss! Friday afternoon is really quiet, and a lovely time to browse and find things that you'd want to pay full price for (full price being, at most, $10), just in case it's gone by the bargain bin special time on Sunday.

I have a little routine, shamelessly deviated from if something catches the corner of my eye: I leave B at the children's books, cruise up past the collectibles, meander past Linguistics, Dictionaries & Printing (very little about printing), spend a bit of time in Literary Biography & Criticism on the way to Poetry. Then I go over to Australian Lit. (There are two Aust Lit sections, one near collectibles (1) and the other near General Fiction (2). This is the former.) I check on B, who by this time has an armful of revolting Bionicle -- ugh, I can't bring myself to say it. Be brave -- novels, and then I cruise past Art & Architecture, slow down and look carefully in Design, and head for the other Aust Lit, both hardback and paperback.

I've joked before about the plague of Bryce Courtenay books in the Australian Fiction section. Well, here's proof:







By that last shot my hands were shaking from laughing.

And that's just the hardback section!

You could construct a canon of Austlit from what is and isn't on those trestle tables. This year there are lots of copies of Roger McDonald's The Ballad of Desmond Kale, but no copies of Kate Grenville's The Secret River, a signifier if nothing else of what people hold on to and what they read and cast away. Support for this theory comes in the fact that I NEVER find Helen Garner novels there, apart from the odd tatty Monkey Grip, which has been studied at high schools for so many years I'd say every household in Australia has one.

Anyhoo, the haul today was modest but meaningful:

Janette Turner Hospital: Due Preparations for the Plague (NB! if you find a copy of something you like at the Fair, and see a duplicate copy nearby, always check both copies for the price. Pricing is NOT standard. The first copy I found of this was $7, and the one next to it (the one I bought!) was $5.) [found at Autlit2 section]

Anne Chisholm: Rumer Godden: A Storyteller's Life [Lit. Biography section]

Primo Levi: Selected Poems [Poetry section]

Anna Akhmatova: Selected Poems (translated by D.M. Thomas) [Poetry section]

William Morris: The Wood Beyond the World (facsimile copy) [Design section]

Stephen Spender: World Within World (1953 hardback with vgc dustjacket) [Lit. Biog Section]

Daisy & Angela Ashford: Love and Marriage (illustrated by Ralph Steadman) [Art section]

Roald Dahl: Boy (nice hardback version) [Lit. Biog section]

Ivor Brown: Say the Word [Linguistics & Dictionaries section]

Michael Twyman: The British Library Guide to Printing [very happy with this one, found in the Design section]

John R. Biggs: Basic Typography [Design section]

a Thames & Hudson catalogue: Art as Activist: Revolutionary Posters from Central and Eastern Europe [Art & Architecture section]

...and a little book abnout Scrimshaw and how to make it. [craft & sewing section]

Hooray! And I've sussed out the places I'll revisit with a big open green bag on Sunday. Huzzar!


Amanda said...

The same principle of what is kept and what turns up 2nd hand applies to CDs, too.

The Lifeline Fair in Sydney is only AFAIK in somewhere horrible and far away like Sutherland. I've never been bothered to make the journey to Teh Shire for it but I am feeling I might have to this year.

M-H said...

Rumer Godden... I haven't thought about her for years...And Amanda, there is a Book Fair in the Great Hall at Synny Uni at some point of the your - I never know when exactly, sorry. Sometime in the middle of the year, I think.

Ampersand Duck said...

Indeed there is, M-H! It's called the Sydney Uni Chancellor’s Committee booksale, and it seems to be in September.

I've got to keep remembering that one. It sounds fab.

Amanda said...

Yeah I go to the Sydney Uni one but my impression was Lifeline was bigger and broader? Maybe wrong about that.

Ampersand Duck said...

Alas, can't answer that until I go... Lifeline is based in a pavilion at the showgrounds, and pretty much fills it nicely, so maybe it is bigger.

ladycracker said...

that scrimshaw book sounds like a lovely find.. hope you find it inspirational.

lauren said...

anna akhmatova? ooh.. ok, now i'm slightly envious..

Mummy/Crit said...

Ah! We went on lunchtime saturday, and it was surprisingly uncrowded. I didn't get anything wildly interesting, except another volume of Joan Aiken 'Arabel and Mortimer' stories for D'Arcy - hb with the Quentin Blake illustrations. Also got a whole lot more cheap Anne McCaffrey to keep my current pulpy sci-fi hunger satisfied. I hear you on Helen Garner. Ditto on Ursula le Guin.

fifi said...

What a splendid haul! And Anna Akhmatova !

Hey, if the Bryce Courtenays were soaked in glue, you could possibly build something useful out of them. Some kind of umm, furniture.

hmm, maybe not.

Kathleen said...

Oh I am jealous of that Morris.

I've never found the USyd Chancellor's sale to be excellent. The fiction is pretty pitiful, and otherwise it's pretty much boring, outmoded scholarly monographs on things like...1950s linguistics theory. Oh, and b&w art books, of which I've never been a fan.

BUT: the USyd English Department's sale is a better bet: novels staffmembers bought to teach (once); review copies of AusLit (I got a review copy of Cosmo Cosmolino there, once), etc.

Bad news is it's just passed. It's normally held in the Woolley Building commonroom, towards the end of February.

Glad for the Lifeline tip, though - I've never heard of this one til now!