Late September saw the end of one of my favorite places in town when it comes to books – the second-hand market near Konzum Family Center.
It’s not completely gone but moved to a different location… It could be argued that the new location is just 600 meters away from the old one, but the damage is considerable nevertheless. Of the four book stalls that existed only one is left standing. Yes, it is the one I used to visit most frequently, but it is not even close to what it used to be.
The stall is now significantly smaller and, consequently, holds fewer books. Over a thousand of dusty old volumes (that were my main interest), as well as several dozen books in English, have been put away in a storehouse somewhere. There’s just no room for them…
It was pure luck that I paid a visit to the market just weeks before the said disaster happened, that I managed to finally get my hands on much praised Colette. There were only two Claudine novels,
- Claudine at School and
- Claudine is Leaving (Claudine and Annie)
which means I still have to hunt down the other two titles. Fingers crossed.
- I also bought her The Vagabond,
- Francoise Sagan’s A Certain Smile,
- Karel Čapek’s short story collection The Blue Chrysanthemum,
- Practicalities by Marguerite Duras,
- Shaw’s Man and Superman, and
- Sharks and Little Fish by Wolfgang Ott.
Finding Aeschylus’ tragedies – all of the surviving plays in one old volume – was a sheer delight. The book is almost a century old (published in Zagreb, in 1918) and still uncut. Nobody has ever read it! Unbelievable! Sad, too.
The backbone is nonexistent, the pages are starting to fall apart, which means I will have to rebind it.
Ever since I first heard about Belgrade’s book fair I’ve been wanting to visit it. Somehow the opportunity never arose; bad timing, poor funds, no one willing or able to accompany me were the reasons that kept me away all these years (more than a decade, come to think of it!). This October however, the stars lined up just right. All the pieces of the puzzle came perfectly together.
I traveled with Johanna and her colleagues from the library and we spent the whole day browsing. Oh, the scope of it! It’s ten times larger than Sarajevo’s fair, with a much better offer and much more variety. We didn’t even manage to see everything. Still, it was a wonderful day.
I stumbled upon two of the Proust’s books at a flea market sometime in mid-September. Buying parts of a series separately is a risky business, but I decided to purchase them, hoping to eventually get my hands on the rest of it. Luck served me, and I found other nine titles at the Belgrade’s fair! Now there’s only the first one missing.
One of the most thrilling moments was spotting a wide stall that held Wordsworth Classics. I have a soft spot for these editions. It took me a good half an hour to decide which of them to bring back to Sarajevo. In the end, I opted for a number of Woolf’s novels and Ulysses.
I also found:
- The Origin of Species, for a very nice price,
- Queneau’s Exercises in Style, and
- Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table.
Belgrade, I will be back.