One of the major events on my yearly calendar is the Book Festival, which contrary to its name is not really a festival but an enormous bookstore which travels through The Netherlands and Belgium. Every October the festival makes a stop in Brussels for 4 days occupying one of the halls of Brussels Expo. The books are bought directly from the publisher, and are sold at low prices, often being from the final print run or containing a minor flaw. This week-end the Book Festival was in town again with its tables laden with more than a million books, and I spent some hours there yesterday.
My usual Book Festival routine:
1. Arrive and immediately locate the English Novels and Literature tables.
2. Spend an hour or two with head bent over book covers
3. Move to the Final pieces table and spend another hour looking at book spines
4. Look up after a few hours to find my neck hurting and a cart overflowing with books.
5. Break for tea (although last year the cafeteria did not serve tea!)
6. Quickly scan the Paperbacks table for some jewels hiding between horror, thriller and romance.
7. Move onto the Non-fiction section and try to stop myself from buying a History of the World I will never read and several cookbooks I will never use.
8. Have another break, this time with food, to stave off the worst hunger.
9. Move onto the section that does not contain books, but various items of stationary, toys and Christmas paraphernalia.
10. Have a small Christmassy moment at the last section.
11. Go though the painful process of deciding which books you will actually take home and which to leave, using the 3-pile method (yes-pile, maybe-pile and no-pile).
12. Discard half of your books before heading to the check-out.
13. Make yourself feel better after leaving so many books behind by buying a bookmark while queuing.
14. Go home and stare at the recent additions to your to-read pile in a state of exhausted happiness.
This year I actually spent somewhat less time at the Book Festival, since I needed to save some energy for a friend’s birthday party that night, and the final count is 13 books for a total of 43.82 Eur. That makes for an average of 3.37 Eur per book, which is not too bad. I began reading The distance between us by Maggie O’Farrell last night, but have several other interesting books in my pile, for instance, Roundabout Man by Clare Morrall, Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman, When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett among others. Of course from a practical point of view these purchases are completely unnecessary since my bookshelf is already filled with yet-to-be-read books, but considering my bibliomania, I managed to restrain myself. Last year I bought a total of 27 books, of which I have read about 5 to date… Anyway, right now I feel happy with my pile, although I am not sure how to fit these newcomers in my bookshelf. Perhaps I should throw out my TV…