book fairs · books

Winter Book Saloon 2013


I got more than I dared to hope for from this year’s Winter Book Saloon. Due to some serious clothes shopping I had to do, my book fund was low. I managed, however, to get my hands on these four titles:

  • Carson McCullers – Reflections in a Golden Eye
  • Karel Čapek – Tales from Two Pockets
  • Andrey Kurkov – The Tale of the True People’s Inspector (first volume of the Geography of a Single Shot)
  • Michail Sholokhov – Quiet Flows the Don


I expected one book more, which was promised as a present of my own choice and while I was deciding which one I would want it to be my dear sister, and Joanna too, were so very kind to demand their own rights to buy me presents… So I ended up with these titles as well:

2013-12-20 08.43.39

  • Jose Saramago – Death With Interruptions
  • Kazuo Ishiguro – When We Were Orphans
  • Marcus Zusak – The Book Thief
  • Fusheng Wu – The Poetics of Decadence. Chinese Poetry of the Southern Dynasties and Late Tang Periods

Some time ago I was a bit saddened thinking I do not have book traditions or habits of my own. Waking up yesterday morning I realized I do have some sort of a tradition. A ritual really… Every time I come home with a bunch of books bought at some fair or another, I am urged to keep them as close as possible during the rest of the day – smelling them, touching their covers, turning pages (not reading them, just looking at the letters), reading blurbs or dedications and enjoying the thoughts of delights I would find between their covers.. However, the main part of this bonding ritual takes its place when the night comes – I bring books to bed, pile them up one on another close beside my pillow and I gradually fall asleep looking contentedly at their spines.

In the morning they are ready to find their places on the bookshelves.


12 thoughts on “Winter Book Saloon 2013

  1. A very nice list there, although I have only read one, The Book Thief, which is a lot better than I thought it would be, you know as lots of people rate it, it usually means it’s a bit rubbish so a nice surprise.

    I love your idea of bonding with a book, you write about it in a most poetic way and that pushes up my affinity with books even more…you are great!

    1. I have not read any of these, neither. Except for The Book Thief, two days ago.. I wanted it for so long and simply had to dive into it as soon as I got it.
      We had similar experiences – I, too, was a bit afraid to find it underwhelming or disappointing, but I loved it.
      Anyway, I see myself rereading it one day, and recommending it to friends so, that speaks (to me, at least) of some quality..

      I have been bonding with books for I don’t know how long and never thought about it until recently.. Bringing it to consciousness made me see its simple beauty, if I may say so.

      You, too, are great!

      1. Once again, I am of the same mind as you, I would like to reread it again and will probably buy a copy for my friends who choose not to read books that are indepth as the ones we go for.

        It is always great that things we take for granted are quite revelatory for others. I for one will begin bonding in the ways you do with my books as well.

  2. How lovely for your books, to be given such loving attention before being welcomed into your library. :) My only sort of ritual is that each newly acquired book must be given a thorough wipe down, first with damp cotton wool, and then carefully wiped dry with tissue, followed by careful attempts to remove the price tag (wherever possible). When all these are done, only then will I start to admire and fondle (is it only me, or does that sound a little obscene? :p) each book up close and personal. The wipe down process is an absolute must for me, before the book can be initiated into my collection.

    1. Wow, you have quite a thorough process. There is definitely something more to it, a meaning of some sorts.. Did you ever thought about it?
      Just recently, when talking about Last Unicorn to a friend, I realized that there might be something hidden, a prediction of a kind, in a fact that it was one of my favorite animated movies when I was a child..

      I only dust mine.. if they seem dusty! or clean if they are dirty.. XD

      1. Gee, you really are a deep thinker :p My initial thoughts about the process are probably that they are born out of necessity, as most of the books that I acquire comes from book sales and tend to be dusty and a little sticky (unlike those that come from a proper bookshop), so they require a more thorough cleaning. And when this has been done often enough it becomes a habit, such that even books that are actually not sticky or dusty will be given the same treatment. Further thoughts would probably reveal that I have mild OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder!) :p (hahahah…..) Seriously though, it might also have something to do with the fact that I have sensitive hands/skin and tend to feel really uncomfortable upon contact with certain things (ie: dust, money, etc….) and will need to wash my hands after such contact. Maybe I need a pair of gloves, like the Victorians. :)

        I have just downloaded The Last Unicorn and started reading the first two chapters over the last weekend. That, and also some of the other books you listed in your latest post about what makes you, you. My thought was, if that list is a sort of ‘blueprint’ to the ‘you’ that you are today, then I would very much like to take a closer look at them too. :)

        1. That sounds pretty logical and practical – I myself am not very happy when my hands are dirty. I don’t like how it feels. Even when I’m cleaning, dusting etc. I sometimes wash my hands in the middle of the process because I cannot clean with hands that became dirty..

          I just adore Last Unicorn even though I actually read it very recently.
          The list is pretty short and I thought, if this reading attains a nice flow I could add another book or two to each of the segments. We’ll see.. So far it’s OK.. I began with Paul Street Boys.

          Your thought about taking a closer look is kind of flattering. :)
          I love getting to know someone by reading the books he/she loves.
          I once did the same with the movies. I watched one of my friend’s favorite movies, but I needed an explanation because I couldn’t, or I didn’t see what he saw in it. I didn’t even liked it. His account of what he found in that movie and why he loves it so much, was what actually gave me the insight.
          Which is great, if you ask me… not only do we get to read each other’s books, we can also gather to talk or write about them.. :)

          1. I am three quarters through Last Unicorn, and I think I can catch abit of what makes you adore it. It’s an inspiriting thought, to know that I am not just reading a book, but in a way, I’m reading you. :)
            Looking forward to the rest of the list…. I have a feeling this is going to be one long, engaging ‘read’. :)
            Your friend must have been quite flattered too, I suppose. :p

            1. He was happy to share it with me and happy that I wanted to watch it. Of course, he would’ve been even happier if I happened to like the film at least half as much as he likes it. :P

              Really? :)
              Do write about how you found it. If you find time and will of course.. I am interested to hear what you think – not only about what you think made me like the story, but what you think of it yourself. Did you like the book, why yes/not, etc… :)

              1. I’ve already shared on what I liked about the book, now let’s try and see what it is that I think makes you adore the book. Here goes my two cents’ worth….. ;)
                Firstly, I think you do really like the fairy tale genre, don’t you? :)
                Then there’s also the ‘forest’, which is something that is rather high on your list of loves, I’ve noticed. And I think the many profound truths in the book would also appeal very much to the philosopher in you. :)
                But more than all that, I somehow feel that what gives the book that special place in your heart comes from the possibility of you being able to identify yourself with the unicorn, in a way perhaps. The unicorn’s ‘restlessness’ at feeling that it’s the only one of its kind left, alone in the forest. The unicorn’s belief that there are still others like her, out there, those who share the same beauty, and ability to recognize & appreciate beauty when they see it. The unicorn’s frustration/ disappointment when encountering people who failed to recognize greatness & beauty when they see it, somehow makes me think of how it might be the same with you, when it comes to seeing good books not getting their due recognition. :p (hahaha….)
                Anyway, feel free to tell me that I’ve got it all wrong and managed to have made a complete fool of myself with my baseless assumptions.
                By the way, did you know that the word “assume” = making an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’? :p
                That’s why we are told to never assume anything, actually. :D

                1. Why, this is one noteworthy analysis. :)
                  Let’s see..

                  Yes, I like fairy tales. But, I love! this postmodern literature where you can find fairy tale elements woven into the narrative.. when the text is auto-referential. As in Byatt, for example.. Delicious. :)
                  The forest and profound truth points are on the spot. :)
                  And I guess I do identify with the unicorn somehow. Not in a way that I wonder if I am the only one of my kind in the world. I know I am not. Actually, even if I didn’t knew it for sure, it wouldn’t bother me – statistically, there is a low chance of me being the only one. Also, there are books to prove that there are/were others..
                  But, the disappointment you got. Weltschmerz, I would say is a better word. The sadness in seeing how people behave, what opinions they usually hold, etc.. It’s not only books. It’s every segment of life.
                  What I also see in unicorn is that she is not a person as most others are – emotion wise. She has no capacity for inflaming, passionate love or hate, for example. She is not ‘wired’ that way. That I can relate to..

                  I’ve heard of the ‘assume’ word play. In Bosnian there’s no ass in assume.Nor you and me.. :)

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