A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading." --William Styron
That is meant to inspire those who aren't already hooked on books because I know bibliophiles like me already know by heart, anything I have to say on this subject. They don't need inspiration to go to the Lifeline Bookfest in Brisbane, because honestly, I saw most of them there this weekend!
Loving and owning books seems to be a family affliction I've inherited. My mom has hundreds of cook books and my dad, well, what can I say, he was raised on a remote farm and grew up to be a world travelling, geological mining engineer who scrutinizes clearance books at library sales and buys most of the ones that regular folks would overlook. Between them both, I didn't have a chance to not love books.
When I was a kid, although deemed by teachers to be a very slow reader, I would sneak out of bed, into my closet with a flashlight to read. (Maybe I was just really tired when the teachers judged me?) I can remember awkwardly holding a book with one hand and a flashlight with the other, sitting amongst toys and shoes. My heart racing with excitement as I read, hoping I could finish the next chapter. Might also have been the fear of getting caught, or the fear of whatever wild things might lurk in shifting shadows on walls, in the cluttered closet and under the dusty bed in the dark. Reading until my bum went numb or I was discovered by a cranky parent!
photo from Wikipedia
My particular weakness these days is cookbooks. Sadly, I had to leave 30 book boxes behind when I moved here (kind of embarrassed to even admit to that.) Not to mention all the political, business, biographical, music and sports related books my husband left behind. We were thrilled to find out about the Lifeline Bookfest this weekend because I was able to fill out my currently slim selection of cookbooks and he found some great travel books.
I had a most ironic experience at the Lifeline Bookfest this weekend too. Whilst perusing the cookery section, I struck up a conversation with two women who also loved cookbooks. One heard my accent and asked where I was from. (I'm still not entirely convinced that I'm the one with the accent here, by the way.) When I told her where I'd moved from, the other woman asked me, if my husband worked at "XYZ" company, which, of course, he did. I stood there quizzically slack-jawed as I asked her how on earth she knew that about my husband. Turns out our spouses had talked at work about the Lifeline Bookfest and mine told hers that I loved cookbooks. Since she'd heard I liked cookbooks and what state I was from she made the connection. Still ironic to me that at THAT moment when I was next to her, someone asked me where I was from, otherwise we wouldn't have met there. You just never know what interesting ways books will affect your life eh?.
In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them."
As a mom, I surrounded my kids with a whole room full of mostly used books. I thought for sure that if I had a house full of books, my kids would grow up knowing so much about life and if not, at least they would know where to look for answers. Luckily, my kids enjoy reading and request gift certificates for books on their Christmas lists even now that they are grown. I feel like those dollars used to fill that room with used books were well spent back then. Both books and the internet have wonderful things to offer, but there will always be something special about owning your very own books that a computer or Kindle won't ever be able to replace, which is especially obvious when the electricity goes down for a day or two. You can always read a book by candle light.
Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn't carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life."
8213; Stephen King
If you find books severely lacking in your household inventory of valuable belongings, please consider taking your precious children, whose minds are like sponges, to the Lifeline Bookfest and letting them pick some books of their own out. It is somewhat embarrassing to know that countries like AU, UK and US aren't even on the top ten list of most literate countries in the world. One study shows that having as few as 20 books in the home can help the literacy rate of the children growing up in that home. In fact, just having a selection of books in the home scored even higher than the parents education levels, for increasing children's literacy.
Learning to Love Reading photo from Microsoft Office
Another study from the National Literacy Trust, based in England
showed that 86% of UK kids had cellphones and 73% didn't even own a book. (I suspect they would find similar results in the US and AU.) One can only hope that those kids have apps on their phones that allow them to download and read books.
I hardly think we need to condemn and ban technology, but we should still encourage kids to have their own books to explore as well. A well read person is a well rounded person, and giving our kids that gift will help them go further in life than just about any other gift we give them.
"Think before you speak. Read before you think."
― Fran Lebowitz
There is a huge difference between someone who merely expresses their opinion and someone who who is expressing themselves, whilst drawing from a wealth of life experiences and knowledge they've acquired from reading.
Reading a lot of books is a bit like layering on coat after coat of the highest quality of polish on a beautiful piece of furniture. It becomes incredibly beautiful, interesting, timeless and durable. It's value it is protected from the elements of life and stays useful for many years, much like our brains when layered with many years worth of reading books. So many experiences in books can also help people find solutions of their own in lives.
"Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly."
―Cornelia Funke, Inkheart
When you buy at the Lifeline Bookfest the proceeds go to help run the Lifeline crisis helpline, 13 14 11, and other community services. Help yourself to all the affordable books you can carry and help the community support those who carry other heavy burdens! Lifeline has had some woes of it's own with two stores burning up in Woolloongabba and Margate and the Fortitude Valley store being flooded for three days. They need our support more than ever this year.
There is an amazing variety of books at the book fair. Row upon row of books! Even large bins stacked high filled with more books line walls. At the end of each day, volunteers refill the tables with more books from those bins. The genre's of books are expansive: paper backs, cookery, fiction, kids books, travel, literature, reference, mystery, and much more. They even have CDs, games, and puzzles! As we arrived, I noticed some folks were wise and brought small trolleys with them. More serious folks just bring rolling suitcases with them, to haul their bounty home in. I think they even had trolleys you could reserve ahead of time to use. Knowing my book addiction would lead to purchases, I was grateful to have a backpack with me!
The prices are varied, one section in the $5 and up, one was $2.50 and another was .50 to $1. I saw online that if you go on Tuesday, there are even more bargains where you can get a bag of books for a great price. Specific up-to-date details about bargains can be found on their facebook page.
The Lifeline Bookfest is at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. You can easily take bus 196 or 199 to get there. It will be opened until Tue. June 12, 8:30am to 4pm. If you missed this Bookfest, don't despair. You have a chance to catch it at the Gold Coast Parklands Showgrounds from July 6th to 9th, 2012 and the Ipswich Showgrounds from August 3rd to 5th, 2012. In fact, mark your calendars because the next time you can catch it here at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre is January 19th to 27th, 2013. Start saving your spare change.
Finally, consider becoming a Bookfest volunteer. Bookfest volunteers get to browse and purchase books before the general public. Send an email to email@example.com or call (07) 3632 1017