This morning, I visited for the first time, the Lifeline Bookfest at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. Primarily a second-hand book sale which runs for nine days, the proceeds of which help to fund the Lifeline 24-hour Crisis Support Line and other suicide support services. In addition to books you can pick up magazines, comics, DVD’s, CD’s, puzzles, games and albums (vinyl). The MILLIONS of books are donated by the public through the Lifeline op shops throughout Queensland.
Today being the opening day and the weekend, it was heaving with like-minded book lovers by the time I arrived. People were entering with trolleys and suitcases large enough to see them through a substantial around-the-world trip. Instantly I knew I was ill prepared – an over the shoulder bag and a bottle of water was going to be of no use.
The exhibition hall is divided into three sections; the $1 section, the $2.50 and the high quality/rare book section. If you are a book lover like me, you would have been like a kid in a sweet shop – I didn’t know where to start. I was on the lookout for photography magazines and Donna Hay magazines and also Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese which is one of my absolute favourite reads. I did have the paperback once when we read it for book club but can’t find it for the life of me. As luck would have it I found the hardback version but then after ploughing my way through what seemed like hundreds of trestle tables, I found the paperback – yay!
There was aisle after aisle of paperback and hardback fiction, children’s books, history books, scifi, cookery, religion, out of print, collectors comics, sheet music – you name it, it was there. I even found this edition of Woman’s Weekly from 13 May, 1972 for 5 pence with an 8-page pullout guide for sensible slimming. It was in immaculate condition and as I was limiting my load I didn’t pick it up – which of course I’m regretting now. Hopefully it will be there still on my next visit.
By the time I’d gathered my finds and lugged them with me for several hours, my arms were about to drop off and I knew it was time to head for home. Note to self – bring pack-horse or trolley next time to take the load.
- Four Australian Photography magazines
- Two Donna Hay magazines
- Pete Evans Healthy Every Day – my daughter will like this
- Maggie Smith – A biography – everyone loves Maggie
- Tim Winton – Cloudstreet – great Australian author is Tim
- Fallen Skies, Philippa Gregory – because I’ve never read any of hers
- Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese – one of my faves
- Jubilee – a magazine about HRH the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – since watching the Crown on Netflix, I have a renewed interest in the history of the monarchy and a love for all things Queenie
- So You Want To Be An Australian, by Cyril Pearl. Published in 1959 when the population of Australia was just 9.75million (24.13 million in 2016) I want to check to see if I make the grade of expectation from 1959. The book cover is rapidly deteriorating but the blurb is still visible – “New Australians and old Australians – and in fact those who are unfortunate enough not to be an Australian at all – will want to read this brilliant satire on Australia.”
Some facts about the Lifeline Bookfest, Brisbane*
- About 50,000 books are processed each week by Lifeline Bookfest volunteers and staff in preparation for this biannual event
- It will take 25 semi-trailers to transport millions of books from the warehouse in North Brisbane to the Convention & Exhibition Centre in Brisbane for the event.
- Books lining the tables will cover more than 4km – wow!
- There are 100,000 kids’ books
- 1500 trestle tables line the exhibition halls
- A rare atlas sold in the States for $4,500
- It’s the largest second-hand book sale in Queensland (and maybe beyond!)
- The novel I saw more copies of than any other appeared to be Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (my observation – I guess once you’ve cracked it, that’s it. I have not read this yet!)
(*facts from The Great Day Out Channel 7)
So if you happen to be in Brisbane over the next week, you should pay a visit to Bookfest and know that your money is going to an excellent and worthy cause. I’m off to do some reading.