Hard on the heels of my pilgrimage along the booktrail comes the Lifeline Book Fair - a massive event for Canberra, which is largely populated by nerds. The approach to these magical bazaars always reminds me of the opening of Harry Potter: people with empty bags, baskets and carts (in lieu of capes) scurrying across roads and huddled in gaggles of barely suppressed glee. On my way in I always look askance at people leaving with bulging bags, wondering if they're making off with the ones I wanted. Indeed the very abundance of books engenders just as much excitement about what you might find as fear of what you might miss.
Canberra's was slightly different from the Brisbane iteration so took some getting used to. There was no unpriced section which meant we were paying around $3 for most paperbacks (instead of Brisbane's fill-a-bag-for-$10). The classics section was pitifully small, but there was a very strong Australian collection. The general fiction section was much smaller, but also less crummy. It was fairly poorly signed (at one point I found myself asking a volunteer “Excuse me, I'm looking for religion”), but I suppose part of the fun of these things is the chaotic and serendipitous journey through the labyrinth.
In case you're interested, here's what I bought for a total of $12.50:
The Flight of the Falcon, by Daphne du Maurier
Tirra Lirra by the River, by Jessica Anderson
Where Angels fear to Tread, by EM Forster
An Imaginary Life, by David Malouf
Mark Twain in Australia and New Zealand, by Mark Twain
And here's what was on my list. If they were there, I missed them...
Anything by Anthony Powell, Eleanor Dark, Edith Wharton
The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence
The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger
Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson