book fairs · bookshelves

New arrivals

To be honest, I found this year’s April Book Fest rather underwhelming. Why? Well, there were a number of reasons but none of them seemed to be strong enough to induce such a feeling… Maybe it’s their sum that was doing it…

As every year, I have been looking forward to the Book Fest. I planned to leave work ten or at least five minutes early – to avoid buying a tram ticket (because I would rather give that money for one or two secondhand books), meet Joanna at 4.15 pm and happily step into the adventure of digging our way through the books till the closing hour, more precisely 7 pm… As it often happens, things were not working out according to the plan. My two pupils were extra naughty and worked very reluctantly. Consequently, I didn’t manage to leave early and it all left me in a state of mild anger and high annoyance. As if it wasn’t enough, I had to buy the ticket, the tram was unusually slow and I was running late. However, I tried to leave it all behind as we walked through the door – the entrance was free of charge – finally, something to cheer me up a bit!

There was a question whether the Fair would be held at all, economical situation in the country not being favorable to anyone involved in the book business in any way. As a result, there was a smaller number of exhibitors and the fair area was notably smaller. Personally, this was not so disturbing, since I had to restrain myself from spending much because of the fast approaching visit to Göteborg. In the end, I chose only four titles – some of them loved, some long awaited, but none to make me jump so very high with joy as it sometimes happens:

  • Oracle Night. Paul Auster2014-04-26 20.41.09
  • Around the World in 80 Days. Jules Verne
  • Lord Jim. Joseph Conrad
  • Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter. Mario Vagas Llosa


There’s a flea market, with several well-stacked book stalls, my friends have been telling me about for years. I have never made it a proper visit (hard to understand how this could be!) and decided to finally do it this weekend.. Although it was a rainy day, my sister and I were determined to go and we were appropriately rewarded for our determination. We were hands and heads into the dusty shelves and boxes and piles of books. I was on my toes, stretching to reach and examine every book there is – in order not to miss a potential heart-rate-increaser. It was heavenly exciting and all worth it:

  • The Long Ships. Frans Gunnar Bengtsson
  • The Cloven Viscount. Italo Calvino
  • Tender is the Night. F.S. Fitzgerald
  • A Memory (A Reputation Left Behind). Olav Duun
  • The Garin Death Ray (The Hyperboloid of Enineer Garin). Aleksey Tolstoy

And! my sister got me Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with the weirdest illustrations of Alice I have seen so far. Plus, a Moomin-book! – Comet in Moominland; not a very good translation, with lot of original text cut out (why would anyone do that?!), but, somehow I’m OK with that, at the moment.

2014-04-26 20.37.06




6 thoughts on “New arrivals

  1. It is strange that as one of the longest lasting and satisfying forms of leisure which is value for money is always amongst the first to suffer when finances go bad…

    I am most happy to see that there is a Calvino book I haven’t read yet, I do love his mastery of words and imagery. Strangely though although I own Eighty days around the World it has never really grabbed me as a book to read.

    I miss the days of buying books in good numbers…never mind for there will be chance to do so again one day.

    1. Ah, Calvino is a treat. I have read only ‘If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler’ and ‘Cosmicomics’ but it was enough to make me a fan. I wonder what delights await me in ‘Viscount’..
      I can afford these good number purchases only twice a year (when spring and winter book fairs are being held) because I’m usually saving money for these occasions. And, having a birthday so near the spring fair fairly helps. Ha!

      It’s sad that culture is seen a luxury. They closed The National Museum, The National Library is on thin legs and I’ve heard a news going round that the National Film Archive’s to be closed. Unbelievable.

  2. I haven’t read Cosmicomics but do own it…If on a Winter’s Night was my favourite of the five I had read until Invisible Cities, that was just so much more…

    I think saving is good as it focuses the mind on what you really want, there is nothing worse than buying some random books that may or may not be any good then to see something you need.

    I feel for you if that goes ahead, so much history and so many important things not respected, it is a travesy. My local (14 miles away) second hand bookshop closed down recently so I am miserable too.

    1. Nooo.. Loosing a second hand bookshop really is a reason to be miserable. More than any other kind of book stores they can be special little corners and their stock is always delightfully surprising. I am sorry.

  3. I am keeping an eye out because there is a nother second hand bookshop close by owned by the same people so if they drop prices for a clearance then I will take a suitcase down and binge on books. These days people send me so many to review, I haven’t needed to buy a book this year yet.

    1. Ooh, that would be so thrilling. For you, of course, not for them..
      I was never able to resist free books. Even if they happen to be those I know I will never read..
      Glad to hear your reviewing skills are gaining more and more attention!

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