Local Canberran. Reluctant member of the Smashed Avo set. Lover of the classics.
I'm about to sound like the biggest nerd but I can't contain my excitement. The Lifeline Bookfair returns to EPIC this weekend. When else can you take your pick of literally hundreds of thousands of books or find books that you'd forgotten about, or little gems from authors you loved but didn't own? The event runs for three days (13-15 February) and is great money earner for the important work of Lifeline Canberra.
One of the rare books on offer
Now I am a Bookfester from way back. I've been told plenty of times that there are far too many books at these things to actually find the one book you so desperately want. Every single time I've proved my doubters wrong. I develop a strategy and go in with a list. None of this 'just browsing' mentality: it's a serious day. It also helps to have an assistant, a book minion so to speak. Somebody who stands on the opposite side of the table and walks up the line with you, meticulously reviewing every single cover. I've always found my mother perfect for this task. At first she wasn't so amenable to the idea but when I held up a beautiful copy of Taylor Caldwell's Captains and the Kings, plucked from a deep pile of old paperbacks at a local scout hall, she was an instant convert.
Of course the Lifeline Bookfair is very organised so you don't need to have an uncanny ability to find books like me. Books are allocated by category so if you wanted your latest hit of Mills & Boon you wouldn't have to look far. But I am curious, do others have a Bookfair strategy? Some go in with a suitcase (I recommend a cabin-size one for manoeuvrability) and load up quickly. Others adopt a staged approach: they select their first 50 books, sit and ponder then cull. Others are totally carefree and are genuinely surprised with anything they find.
That's the beauty of the Bookfair. For three days the inner book-lover in all of us comes out. The young and old come out to find something that they loved as children or something to give their children. Teenagers, who we are told don't put down their gadgets long enough to read anymore, come out looking for something to read. Grown men trawl through the CD and DVD collections to find that one song or movie that they loved from years ago.
Records for the collector
I encourage you all to get out to EPIC this weekend and find your own treasure. The Bookfair makes upwards of $400,000 for the weekend which goes directly to supporting Lifeline's crisis support service. Saturday is Family Day complete with face painting and games for the kids. Entry is by gold coin donation. For more information, check out Lifeline's official website.
One more piece of advice. Take plenty of breaks. Be wary of the Bookfair neck. It can be quite painful as all that looking sideways will take its toll. Stop and stand up straight every once in a while.