How do you read so much?

 

Janelle says…

I get asked this question all the time. I work five days a week, I have two children, I go to the gym and do yoga, and I read. I don’t feel like I read a huge amount, I average about one book per week. But for some people, that’s a lot more reading than they themselves manage. They can’t fathom how I can get this amount of reading done along with tending to all my other responsibilities and obligations, which may be similar to what they have going on in their own lives. So I’m always being asked, “How do you find the time?”. Here’s how I find it:

 

Audiobooks

In my opinion this is the quickest way to increasing the number of books you read. If you listen to books on audio, you can listen to them at times when it is impossible to be reading a print or e-book. In the car. In the morning while getting ready for work. At the gym. While you take the dog for a walk. While you hang out the washing. While you pick up the dog poop off the lawn. While you make dinner. I listen to audiobooks in all of the above scenarios, and let me tell you, if I consistently always had an audiobook on the go, I would double the number of books I get through, guaranteed. It’s also a lot easier to get your hands on audiobooks than you might think – public libraries have them available for loan on mp3, trusty old cd, or through the free BorrowBox app so you can listen on your phone.

 

Reading on my lunch break

I can’t function during the day unless I have a lunch break away from my desk, and I try to make sure that break includes reading. Preferably outside in the sun. Not only is this very good for you, especially if you work at a desk in front of a screen like me, but it will help push you through those pages faster. It all adds up!

 

Reading every night

I also can’t function unless I read every night. At least in bed before sleep, if not during the time leading up to going to bed. This is when I get most of my reading done. If I manage to devote myself entirely to reading for the night after the kids go to sleep, this gives me at least a good one-and-a-half hours of page turning. There are plenty of other distractions though, like my phone and Netflix, so this is about dedication and prioritising how you want to spend your time. If you would like to spend more of your evening time reading, you simply need to make that commitment to yourself. Leave your phone in another room or turn it off. Grab a blanket and a cup of tea, and sit in a quiet comfy corner somewhere and just immerse yourself in it.

 

Sign up for a reading challenge

Maybe you’re the competitive type who would be spurned on by a challenge? There are plenty of them out there, to suit whatever it is you would like to get out of your reading. Simply want to read more books? Try the Goodreads annual reading challenge. Want to diversify and broaden your reading horizons? Give the Book Riot Read Harder challenge a go. I wrote a post about some reading challenges taking place in 2017, so check that out for some suggestions if you’d like to add a bit of extra motivation to your reading life.

 

Start a book blog with your sister so you feel obligated to read

That way you’ll have to read at least one thing every month, lest you be shamed in front of the whole internet!

 

Have I missed anything? Do you have any other tips for bringing more reading in to your life?

 

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Take a reading challenge in 2017!

I can’t resist a good challenge, and a reading challenge is the best kind! Not only does it make you accountable to yourself to try and pick up your reading game, it can broaden your reading horizons in ways you wouldn’t have otherwise known about. Here are a few ideas for reading challenges you could take up in 2017 if you were looking to add more bookish fun into your reading life!

 

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  • Chapter Break is hosting the 2017 Shelf Love Challenge, I participated in this last year as I found I had been ignoring the books on my own shelves in favour of library books. The goal is to read the books that you own first and foremost, ideal if you, like me, own lots of books that you haven’t yet read. I found it took me a good six months to get the hang of not requesting everything under the sun from the library, but once I started sticking to my library ban it was quite easy to look to my own shelves first, it was a matter of just doing it. I’m going to ramp up my commitment this year to read 21-30 books from my own shelves, which according to the Chapter Break challenge rules is the “give your shelves a warm friendly hug” level!

 

  • The 2017 PopSugar Reading Challenge is a handy, fun little list for expanding your repertoire, and very doable. There are 40 prompts for you to attempt, most of which are quite easy, and an additional 12 prompts for those looking for a bit more. You can download a printable version of the challenge if you like to manually tick things off as you go, and there’s even a Goodreads group and an Instagram hashtag to keep you enthused all year.

 

  • The “Challenge Factory” GoodReads discussion thread has LOADS of suggestions from users, ranging from the easy to the advanced, from mini and weekly challenges to year-long ones. Lots of fun, you’re bound to find something that you like. The TCF Hangman 2017 thread looks like a fun game, and I’m definitely going to try the Give Me 5 thread for those times when I can’t pick what I want to read next.

 

  • I’m also going to try to Book Riot Read Harder Challenge this year – this one has a focus on diversity and will really push you to seek books that our outside of your norm. Book Riot offer plenty of backup throughout the year for completing this challenge, including an active Goodreads group, regular videos on the Book Riot booktube channel, and Read Harder book group meetups if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities that hosts them in the US, Canada or Scotland.

 

So, do any of these challenges take your fancy? What are your reading goals for 2017?

 

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Bookfair book haul!

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My biggest bookfair haul yet!

Janelle says…

A couple of weeks ago was one of our most anticipated events of the year – the spring Lifeline bookfair (the other annual event we anticipate being the summer bookfair, of course). I took a leave day from work to go to the bookfair….using the excuse that I was taking the day off in lieu of my birthday which was 3 days earlier. But who am I kidding, I would have taken the day off regardless! Despite the fair being held in a smaller venue than usual this time, resulting in quite a squishy and uncomfortable experience, Mel and I (and baby Phoebe!) still had a ball as we always do. We were there for around 4 hours which is a bit of a record for us, and really made a morning of it, stopping for a coffee and a snack and a peruse of our books halfway through.

 In my years of attending the bookfair I have learned some valuable lessons-

  • the best time to go is always 9am on the first day – somehow, this is when the best books are up for grabs;
  • you mustn’t rely on a tote/grocery/shoulder bag to carry your books in, lest you be in pain. Rolling suitcases are the only way to go;
  • always carry water and a snack, just in case;
  • if you see a book that you’re not too sure about, just pick it up anyway. You can review your finds and cull them later if you must, but just go go go!

You see that picture up there? Probably one of my favourite pictures ever. And let’s face it, probably one of my best days ever! Anyway, the excitement still hasn’t worn off for me yet. I still have the massive book pile on the floor next to my bed (because I’ve run out of bookshelf space) which I look at every day, and it both makes me smile and makes me hyperventilate because WHEN AM I GOING TO FIND THE TIME TO READ THEM ALL?!

I went to the bookfair with no specific “list” in mind. I just know in my head what books are on my TBR, and my plan was – if you see them, grab them! So, what did I grab?

 

Books I don’t really know much about, but bought because I have heard either it or the author mentioned somewhere before, and/or because I liked the cover:

The World Without Us – Mireille Juchau

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: and other lessons from the crematory – Caitlin Doughty

The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

After the Crash – Michel Bussi

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

Burial Rites – Hannah Kent

Clade – James Bradley

Swamplandia! – Karen Russell

The Hive – Gill Hornby

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North

 

Books I bought by authors I haven’t read before, but because I’m jumping on the bandwagon:

The Passage – Justin Cronin

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

Carry On – Rainbow Rowell

Landline – Rainbow Rowell

 

Books I bought because I have the first books in the series and want to have a full set, even though I haven’t read those first books yet:

Home – Marilynne Robinson

Lila – Marilynne Robinson

A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson

 

Books over which I audibly squealed when I found them, such was my delight:

The Natural Way of Things – Charlotte Wood

Girl Waits with Gun – Amy Stewart

Gold Fame Citrus – Claire Vaye Watkins

Oryx & Crake – Margaret Atwood

 

Books I found which weren’t previously on my TBR, but which spoke to me at the time:

A Journey to Peace through Yoga – Lynette Dickinson

Ice Cream & Sadness – Cyanide & Happiness Vol. 2

 

So this brought my total of books I own and haven’t read up to 135, noting that I have since read The Natural Way of Things. I don’t want to think about how many years it will take me to read the other 134….

 

Have you read any of the above books? If so, what did you think? Did you go to the Lifeline bookfair?

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Why must I procrastinate when I should be reading?

 

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Janelle says…

So, picture this. The day is over, you’re at home, dinner is done, if there are kids at your place they are in bed, the night lays ahead in all its wondrous possibility. It’s perfect reading time of course!

You settle in to a cosy spot with your book and a cup of tea, looking forward to an uninterrupted few hours of quiet reading. You open your book and read a page or so, and then you remember something you wanted to quickly check online, so you grab your phone and start tapping away. Next thing you know, an hour and a half has gone by and you’ve only just looked up from your phone, and you can’t quite believe that that much time has passed without you being able to recall what it is you’ve actually been doing. Another night of maximum reading potential, lost. AGAIN.

Does this sound familiar to you? Even if you replace reading in the story with some other favourite pastime that you would like more time for. Yet for some unfathomable reason, whenever you actually do get a window of opportunity to indulge in your hobby of choice, you seem to subconsciously sabotage it!

I don’t know why I do this, and possibly I should just teach myself to turn my phone off and hide it/hand it over to someone else/bury it. The reason is not because I’m not enjoying the book/s I’m reading, because I do this even when I’m deep in love and suspense with a story. Perhaps I’m just too curious a person to stay away from the internet for more than two minutes? Perhaps I really do just have too much to check/research/manage online that I can’t afford the time away? Or perhaps on some level, I can’t quite believe my luck at having a whole 2 or 3 hours free just for reading, and because it’s too good to be true I just throw it away instead?

Anyway, whatever the reason, writing this post has just cost me a good 20 minutes’ reading time. If you’ll excuse me…..

Adventures on the Bookternet – favourite podcasters

Janelle says…

Because I am clearly hopeless at maintaining any kind of regular posting schedule (it’s been 5 weeks since my last post – the shame!), I thought I would take you on a tour through some of my favourite parts of the bookish internet, where I can be found regularly lurking and savouring every delicious morsel of booky goodness. That way, with your attention diverted elsewhere, you won’t notice the fact that I apparently don’t blog ever.

I love podcasts. I listen to them when I’m getting ready in the morning, in the car on the way to and from work, at home while I’m hanging out the washing or folding clothes, and with a glass of wine while I’m preparing dinner. It’s amazing how fast you can get through a podcast when you are using all of these small snippets of available time to listen to one. I usually get through one hour-long podcast a day with ease, sometimes two.

Here are some tried-and-true favourites!

 

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Image via Gratisography

 

Book Riot

The Riot actually have a number of podcasts available, and they are all fantastic. The Podcast is a weekly discussion of news, gossip, trends and stats from the book world. All The Books is a shorter weekly series which discusses new books released each week (really great for building up your TBR and getting on library hold lists early). Get Booked is a recommendation show where anyone (even you!) can write in requesting any kind of book recommendation. I may have done this already and been recommended some books in an early episode….And finally, Dear Book Nerd is a bi-weekly advice show with new guest co-hosts each episode. And if you like any of these shows, there are hefty back episodes to keep you busy!

 

The Readers

The Readers is hosted by UK-based Simon Savidge and US-based Thomas Otto. Their discussions are broad-ranging, from talking about literary prizes, to answering listener questions, to playing bookish games….it’s never boring. And the dynamic between these two is so amusing, they’re often poking fun at each other and making me laugh. Like settling in for a chat with friends.

 

Literary Disco

I’m quite new to the Literary Disco podcast, but my plan is to go back through the catalogue and catch up on previous episodes. The 3 hosts – Julia, Tod, and Rider – clearly have a lot of fun recording the podcast and talking about books together. There is also a lot of laughing, and sometimes a bit of swearing. They discuss individual books in detail, but also segue into more general bookish chat too.

 

Drunk Booksellers

Well c’mon, as if you can resist it, look at the title! I am also new to Drunk Booksellers, and not only enjoying catching up on past episodes, but also the GIF-heavy, highly amusing show notes. With episodes conveniently portioned into chapters with titles such as “In Which We Discuss Radioactive Bookworms, Lawnmowers, and What Makes a Good Event“, and “In Which We Discuss Book Problems in the Apocalypse, Kim & Emma Learn About Cities in Canada, and Sam & Emma Get In a Fight“, you know you’re going to be entertained.

 

So that should keep you busy for a while? Let me know what your favourite podcasts are!

 

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Check-in! #ShelfLove and Goodreads Reading Challenges

Janelle says…

I’ve set myself two reading challenges this year – my overall Goodreads Reading Challenge for the total number of books I want to read in 2016, and the #ShelfLove challenge, designed to motivate readers to prioritise books from their own shelves over new purchases or library books. Considering it’s somehow April now (what?), I thought it might be time to check in and see if I’m on track to win these babies!

First of all, my Goodreads challenge. I’ve committed to read 36 books in total this year, and so far this is how I’m tracking:

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Woohoo, going strong! 13 books read so far equates to an average of one book per week, and considering it’s been a busy year to date, I’m happy with that. I’m even considering extending my challenge to maybe 40 or more books. I like to live on the edge.

Secondly, the #ShelfLove challenge. I wanted at least half of my total books read this year to be books I personally own. Based on a goal of 36 books read in total, my #ShelfLove challenge was for 11 – 20 of those books to come from my own shelves. I’m including advance reader copies from publishers or Netgalley as my own books, because they are sitting on my shelf, just not my physical shelf because they’re usually ebooks.

So far, 6 of my 13 books read have been my own books.  Not bad, but that means that 7 of the 13 books have been from the library/borrowed from someone else. No, bookworm, that’s a bad bookworm!

So I’ve got some work to do on that challenge, especially considering that my current read is a library book, and I have another one on hold at the library right now. Mo’ books, mo’ problems, amirite?

Are you doing a reading challenge this year? How are you tracking?

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#ShelfLove – A reading challenge for 2016

Janelle says…

I have a problem. I buy books and then I don’t read them. Because I’m too busy reading all the library books I borrow. And my bookshelves have run out of room so I can’t buy any more books! You know, the ones I won’t read anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I really want to read the books that I own. I gaze at the titles on my shelves and I get that fluttery panicky feeling of having too many books in front of me and not enough time to read them all. I want to read them all NOW. But then, I’ll find out about some amazing new book about to be published and I’ll think “I need to read it straight away!” and I jump in the library queue and then all of my library requests arrive at once and I only have a few weeks to read them and AAARRGGHHH!!!

So, obviously I need a good kick up the bum for me to stop reading library books and start reading my own books. I’m not talking an all-out library ban here, I don’t want to completely miss out on amazing new releases! I just need to prioritise my own books for reading. What’s the point of owning all these books if I can’t recommend them to others because I haven’t read them!

 

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Mmm, some interesting books here. And I’d tell you about them, if I’d actually read any of them!

I assumed the Internet would have a solution for me, and of course I found one! I stumbled across the #ShelfLove Challenge, hosted by Bookworm Brandee, Chapter Break, and Second Run Reviews. First, you set a goal for how many of your own books you’d like to read throughout 2016. My overall Goodreads Reading goal for the year is 36 books. I’d be really happy if half of those read books were from my own shelves. So my #ShelfLove Challenge goal is:

11-20 books – pat your shelves on the back!

The challenge guidelines also talk about deciding whether or not you will abstain from buying new books to get your shelves under control. Personally, my favourite event of the year is the local secondhand book fair, and I don’t think I could live if I knew I was missing out on that, so I won’t be abstaining from buying more books for myself. This is simply a motivator to try and get through more of my own books than I have in recent years, and if the pile grows while I’m doing that, then whatever. More books = yay!

I’ll be posting here occasionally throughout the year about how my challenge is going, and linking up with the hosting blogs above, along with other people joining in the challenge from around the world. Wish me luck! Although I don’t think I’ll need it, if I do say so myself, just quietly. I’m very competitive – I love a good challenge!

 

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The end of the Harry Potter era

Janelle says…

I’m surprised that neither of us has really mentioned Harry Potter here yet. It has been such a major part of both of our reading lives. The old HP definitely deserves some word time, and so I remembered this post which I wrote for a now-deceased blog, back when the final Harry Potter movie was about to be released, waaaaaay back in 2011. Harry Potter was mentioned on a podcast I was listening to today, so many years on from its prime, and it made me wonder whether we’ll ever see a literary phenomenon like this again in our lifetimes. Read this post, and you’ll see what I mean.

This post also introduces you to our infamous “reading parties”, of which I’m sure you’ll hear more in the future. Enjoy!

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My Harry Potter books sit on the sacred top shelf of my bookcase, reserved only for my most favourite and precious books, sitting next to the Lord of the Rings trilogy and my beloved special edition of the Chronicles of Narnia (and the kind-of-scary-looking Harry Potter doll, who looks nothing like the real thing and therefore is named “Larry Trotter”).

So yes, I’m a Harry Potter fan, and it seemed fitting to write a little something in honour of the release of the final movie. While I was reading the seventh and last Harry Potter book on the day of its release, I remember saying “It’s the end of an era!“. And it really was. But I also remember saying “At least there are still some movies to come“. Now it’s really all over.

I haven’t yet seen the final movie. But I’m pretty confident it will be a fitting end to the movie series. I’m often not very happy at all with the resulting movies when good books decide to make the transition to screen. But the Harry Potter movies have been a happy exception for me.

Reading about “the end” in the newspaper, I was taken back to my own Harry Potter memories, mainly to do with the release of the last book in the series – The Deathly Hallows.

At the time of the book’s release I was lucky to be working with quite an outrageous, diverse group of people, the majority of whom were mad Potter fans. We decided to start a pool at work, to see who could guess how the series would end (or get the closest to it). The prize – the Gryffindor cup! (really just a plastic wine glass, painted with gold metallic paint and decorated). And you know, glory as well. I think my guess was something to do with Harry dying, but getting to be with his parents in death so really it was a happy ending, or something like that. I lost, but it was fun to bring Pottermania to the workplace nonetheless, and somehow I don’t see any other phenomenon extending in to the office in the near future.

My sister is a huge fan like myself, and really, can be credited with introducing me to the land of Potter. Consuming the books and later, seeing the movies, was something we had in common and would talk endlessly about. When the final book was about to be released we pre-ordered it, and then both took the release day off work (as planned leave, not sickies, relax!). There we were, at the mall at 7:30am or some ridiculous time in the morning, standing in the queue and talking excitedly about the possibilities for the ending of the series, that would soon enough be revealed when we got our hands on the sacred text. We stood in that line for hours, it stretched from the carpark all the way in to the middle of the mall, and up on to the centre stage where you would hand over your pre-order receipt and be presented with your prize. I think I nearly squealed when I was handed the purple enviro-bag with my hardcover Deathly Hallows inside.

We then took our books back to my place, find ourselves a comfy spot on the couch, opened to the first page and began reading in silence. Have you ever sat with someone in silence, reading the same thing? It really is a much stranger experience than it sounds. Our reading was interrupted regularly with gasps as one of us would reach some surprising moment in the story, followed by a narrow-eyed glance from the other one, and then giggles. Occasionally, something along the lines of this-

Oh my God! Have you read page 34 yet?!

Not yet, I’m about to turn on to that page. What’s going to happen? Wait for me!

No way! I’m not waiting, it’s too exciting!

Then we’d do the thing we did to each other as kids to annoy one other while we were reading – in the silence, one would start muttering the text under their breath so it was barely audible, just to throw the other one off, then we’d burst in to laughter.

By dinner time, we were both only about 3/4 of the way through the book, and it was time for her to go home. It had been such a great day, even though not much had been spoken between us since we had opened our books, it was still really fun to share that day with her and probably one of my favourite memories with my sister.

My husband knew to leave me alone for the rest of the night. As long as I had my nose buried in that book, no one and nothing else existed really (sorry darling). So I lay in my spot on the couch and read the book until I was finished, at times exclaiming “Nooo!” and “What?!” out loud. I remember bawling my eyes out in the last chapter, and then when I finally read over the last sentence and closed the cover, I sadly dragged myself in to the room where my husband was, teary-eyed, whining “I can’t believe it’s over“.

But at least I still had the rest of the movies to look forward to.

Harry Potter will always remain on my top shelf, and will always be one of those series that I go back to over and over again. In fact, I might start on them again once I’ve finished my current book!

I look forward to the time when Mia is finally old enough for me to say “Let’s start a new bedtime book, Mia. How about this one, it’s one of Mummy’s all-time favourites – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. You’re going to love it!

Tis the season to give bookish gifts

bookish xmas gifts

 

Looking for a Christmas gift for the book-lover in your life? Something slightly more interesting than another bookstore voucher (although personally, I would never be unhappy with that)? We’ve got you covered. Check out these sweet bookish gift ideas-

 

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Frostbeard Studio – Book Lovers’ Soy Candles

Know somebody who loves the smell of Old Books? There’s a candle for that. Or someone with a hint of a Librarian fetish? There’s a candle for that too. In fact, whether your precious book-lover is in to romance novels, the Outlander series, Doctor Who, or just gorgeous old libraries and bookstores, you’ll find a waxy treat to tempt their nostrils with at Frostbeard’s Etsy shop. These candles are a bit of a thing on the bookternet, and seem to pop up everywhere on bookish Instagram feeds. My pick of the bunch for the festive season? Christmas in the Great Hall. Mmm…smells like yule.

 

Blackmilk Clothing

Looking for a gift for someone who enjoys wearing tight clothing while they read? Look no further. Blackmilk has you covered with their extremely popular leggings, tanks, skirts and dresses, with collections inspired by Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, DC Comics and more. Mel is a big fan, and will personally vouch for their comfyness.

 

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Hello Papers – Handmade Magnetic Bookmarks

Basically, Etsy is a treasure trove for book fiends. I just discovered this store and have fallen in love! I would love to build up a really good bookmark collection. And have them displayed in some kind of hanging showcase in my house, from where I can lovingly select a different bookmark each time I start a new book. It’s going to happen.

Anyway, this store has Star Wars bookmarks, Hunger Games bookmarks, Winnie the Pooh bookmarks, to name a few. Super cute, and very affordable too.

 

Obvious State – Homewares

For the sophisticated reader among us. Stylish black + white literary designs on prints, tote bags, mugs, and notebooks, inspired by the classics. All items on offer at this store would easily blend in with any type of decor. My favourite is the Jorge Luis Borges quote print, which is going to hang in my library someday. Next to the hanging bookmark showcase.

 

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Funko Pop! – Figurines

Also all over the Bookstagram. I have to admit, they are super cute, and they look great on a bookshelf. Just check out #funkopop on Instagram for the proof! Admittedly, they do seem to be more centred around TV, movie and comic characters more than anything else, but you still have a good chance of finding a little plastic icon to suit you (or someone else). There are soooooo many to choose from, too many options to start listing here. I’ve seen Harry Potter Funko’s, Hobbit Funko’sSherlock Funko’s…..and if you’re a fan of HBO TV series, boy howdy! You’ll be in heaven!

 

So, now your Christmas shopping list is sorted! Go forth and buy my presents!

 

Oh book fair, how do I love thee

By Janelle

Here in Canberra, the Lifeline charity runs a successful second-hand book fair three times a year, as a major source of their fundraising.  All year long, people drop off their pre-loved books, magazines, games, cd’s, and dvd’s to the charity.  A team of dedicated volunteers sort the books into genres, and handwrite the sale price for the next fair inside the cover (usually between $4-$6).  Around 250,000 items are up for sale every year. The next book fair is on its way and I’m already daydreaming about it!

My personal book collection experienced a noticeable expansion once I discovered the book fair.  All of a sudden, $50 could buy 8 or more books, instead of just 2.  I could afford to be more adventurous than usual.  My book fair loot has included some absolute treasures and new authors to follow, which at times has led to me buying other books by the same author brand-new.  If one of these finds turned out not to be my cup of tea, no matter.  Just donate it back to be re-sold at the next fair.  It’s all for a good cause.  And so the cycle continues.

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Part of a book fair haul

My countdown to the next book fair begins weeks in advance, until I’m counting down the number of sleeps in anticipation of attending my favourite bookish event again.  On book fair weekend, thousands of people ranging from hardcore book fair fanatics through to curious book fair newbies, congregate to the local showgrounds where a massive exhibition hall is fitted out with rows of trestle tables as far as the eye can see, displaying the never-ending supply of books.  Signs sprout up from amongst the crowd, signalling zones like “Fiction”, “Cooking” and “Australiana”.  I enter the hall, trailing my mini luggage case behind me (I’ve learnt from previous experience that my bare hands, or even a carry bag, is completely insufficient), ready to scan book spines until my eyes fall out of my head.  I come prepared, with a bottle of water, snacks, and my books-to-buy wishlist ready to go on my phone.

It’s not only the bliss of being surrounded by thousands of books for my browsing pleasure that makes this event one of my favourite things in the world.  It’s not only the fact that I have a rare opportunity to be free of my children for a couple of hours to wander amongst books in a dreamy daze.  It’s not only the possibility of finding something from my wishlist for an absolute bargain.  Although when all of these things are combined, I am in my own personal nirvana state.  One of the things I love most about the book fair is the people, and getting amongst the local community of readers.

Every book fair without fail, I will have at least one happy encounter with a fellow reader that will just make my day.  Sometimes, the person on the other side of the trestle table will notice the book that I’m perusing and will throw in a helpful endorsement, or vice versa, and we’ll chat for a while over the books in our hands and similar reads that we’ve loved.  Or occasionally I might get a thumbs up or a congratulatory comment if I happen to snag something particularly awesome, in which case I will always gasp out loud, so everyone in my immediate vicinity naturally turns towards me and inspects whatever it is I’ve picked up off the table.

Mel, the other half of Little Blog of Books, is my regular book fair companion, and generally we will swap the names of a few titles we are each seeking before we hit the tables.  Two pairs of eyes are better than one.  We tend to stick together as we make our way around the hall, one of each side of the trestle table, moving in parallel unison, so we can continue to chat as we inspect the goodies on offer.

At the last book fair, I spied The Magicians by Lev Grossman, having just recently finished it (and loved it).  I gasped so loud as my hand shot out like a lizard’s tongue to grab it, the three or four people around us all stopped and looked at me, and after I began babbling away to my sister about how great it was, the woman across the table leaned in and said “Really? Well if you don’t take it, I’ll have it instead!”

Once, I happened to spot something that was on my sister’s wishlist – a brand new complete-to-date set of the Song of Ice and Fire series.  We practically got a standing ovation from everyone within a 5-metre radius.

The book fair is also where a nerdy couple convinced my husband to try out a new fantasy series he’d never heard of, placing the books in his hands carefully like they were passing on some kind of divine gift.  It’s where I’m going to slowly build up a Goosebumps and Babysitter’s Club collection for my kids, in my effort to relive my 90’s childhood through them.  It’s where I’m open to new reading possibilities, taking chances on authors I haven’t read and books I’ve never heard of.

Heaven is an exhibition hall filled with cheap second-hand books and the people who love them.

Will we be seeing you at the book fair?

Joining in with Maxabella Loves and friends for The Weekend Rewind

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