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Lifeline Bookfest, Brisbane, June 9-12, 2012.

The next Lifeline Bookfest is coming up on the Queen's Birthday Weekend, June 9-12, 2012, at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. The room is the size of a football field, usually with more than a million books all arranged neatly on long wooden tables, and going for ridiculously low prices. Lifeline is a charity which provides services like 24-hour phone counseling. Fictional reporter Norman Wallis attended the Lifeline Bookfest in Caboolture in April.

There comes a time in one’s life when one has to simplify one’s book collection. It is all very well to amass beloved books, but one wishes to avoid the situation of having impromptu towers of books tumble upon one, burying one alive. And so, I determined upon a drastic policy. Every time I purchased a book from a Lifeline Bookfest, I would dispose of one from my collection. It would be a heart-breaking task. So much so, that when I attended the Lifeline Bookfest at Caboolture in April, I was almost hoping I wouldn’t find anything of interest. I even attended later in the day; usually I would be there when the doors opened.
The Lifeline Bookfest at Caboolture is held in an indoor basketball court. It’s something of a mini-Bookfest: the Bookfest that will be held at the Convention Centre at South Brisbane, from June 9-12, occupies an area approximating the size of a football field. Nevertheless, the Caboolture Lifeline Bookfest is of equal quality. I have never failed to find a bagful of fascinating books at the Caboolture Bookfests. And this is what I dreaded when I entered the basketball court.
There they were, all laid out on wooden tables, constantly being restocked by volunteers with cardboard boxes full of second hand books. I felt a thrill, but I had to maintain some equilibrium. I had to resist the shoveling urge. I had a sports bag, and it would be all too easy to start filling it with novels and whatnot. But I decided I would restrain myself. At the most I would take one or two books and leave it at that. I knew that every book I picked up would mean the departure of another book at home.
Nonchalantly, I wandered along the tables perusing the titles, all invitingly arranged, spine upwards. They were all engaging, but I resisted putting them into my bag: The Coral Island by Ballantyne: a hardback 1908 edition; The Sun Goes Down by Jean Larteguy; In the Hands of Cave Dwellers by G. A. Henty; The Lost Wagon Train by Zane Grey; Murder of a Blackmailer by Roland Daniel; Quo Vadis? by H. Sienkiewicz.
And there were all those intriguing text books to choose from: symbols of the paths people take in life: books on histology; Understanding the Stock Exchange by N.E. Renton; effective interviewing; How to Attract Good Luck by A.H.Z. Carr.
And literature like The Poetry of Wakayama Bokusu edited by H. H. Hinde. And Light in August by William Faulkner. But I resisted them all. Alas, my restraint was not to last.

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-copyright Simon Sandall.