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Lifeline Bookfest June 8-11

Fictional character Norman Wallis returned to the latest Lifeline Bookfest in Brisbane, June 8-11. More than a million second-hand books went on sale, as they do twice a year at the Bookfest in Brisbane. There are Bookfests held in other towns every once in a while. The next one will be in January. Proceeds go to Lifeline for services like phone counselling.

For those who have never been to a Lifeline Bookfest, come if you will on a vicarious journey to this singular event, in particular to the rare and out of print book tables at the most recent Bookfest, held from June 8 to 11 at the Brisbane Convention Centre.These books occupy only a fraction of the tables at the Bookfest. But I always make my way there on my Bookfest sojourns in Brisbane. There are Bookfests in other cities and towns in Australia every once in a while.
I love picking up the old tomes and giving them a cursory inspection, these magic old volumes. Some I placed in my bag for purchase; most I reluctantly returned to the tables. Imagine wandering alongside the long wooden tables, picking up these old books and examining them.

Sir Richard Muir. A Memoir of a Public Prosecutor, written by Sidney Theodore Felstead. A black hardback with the back cover missing: No doubt the reason for its prolonged presence on the rare and out of print table. First published 1927.
The book relates many tales of malfeasance. Forgeries, robberies and murder.

Expository Notes and Practical Observations on the New Testament, Volume 3, by William Burkitt. Published 1833. A gift made in November, 1898.

The 1923 Sears, Roebuck Catalogue, listing American products of yesteryear: The Elgin Motor Bike, which didn’t have a motor; Supertone Player Rolls; the Triple Panel Autoseat American Beauty buggy; youth’s caps and oiled slicker clothing.

The Do It Yourself Annual of 1960.

Schoolboy Grit by Gunby Hadath. Apparently Mr Hadath (1871-1954) wrote more than 60 novels, and his schoolboy novels were noted for their rich humor. I should have bought this 1928 hardback, dash it.

Questions and Answers on Psychological Incapacity as Ground for Marriage Annulment.

Redemption Songs. I daresay some might argue I’d probably be more suited to beyond-redemption songs, when it comes to my book collecting at least. But I like to cast my net widely as it were, and take in influences from a multiplicity of places. If one reads approved books only, one will miss out on a lot of quality writing, not to mention valuable influences, entertainment and ideas.

The Prince of Pickpockets.

She Travelled Alone in Spain by Nina Murdoch.

Nelsons History of the War, Volume Four, by John Buchan.

Billabong Adventures by Mary Grant Bruce. 1927. A gift from a grandmother.

History of Russia, taking it as far as the days of communism. Such a presumptuous ideology.

Radiotron Designers Handbook, 1954.

American Practical Navigator. Revised edition 1938. published by the Hydrographic Office of the United States Navy. It was once owned by a sailor in the U.S. navy. WW2 vintage.I almost bought this, for $5. Probably should have, but I like to think someone else bought it who’d value it even more. In any event it was gone when I went back for it.

A Path in the Ravine by E. S. Ellis. Presented to a boy in fifth grade, at the State School, Stanmore. 1936.

The Memoirs of Paul Kruger, Volume 2.

Decisive Battles of the Western World. Volume 2.

Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory with an intro by Robert Graves. 1962 hardback. I’m enjoying this fantasy novel from 1485.

Lectures on North Queensland History. James Cook University, 1974. Apparently most of the Chinese that came to Australia during the gold rushes were from a small part of southern China, around Canton where they heard about the gold rushes through Europeans in the area. Economic conditions were bad in China, so they thought, Why not?

The Memoirs of Paul Kruger, Volume 1.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia).

Ernest Maltravers by Edward Bulwer Lytton, mid 1800s edition, red hardback with gold lettering, tattered spine.

The Knights of Bushido by Lord Russell of Liverpool.

Business and Law for the Shipmaster, which explained the rules of the sea, including the ban on loading oil during the night in the UK, and penalties for recklessness and what to do with drunken sailors.

But I am haunted by some of the books I put back on the table. A nice big hardback History of Israel for one. Now I’ll have to try and find them for sale on the internet. But it’s unlikely I’ll ever see them again. The regret is eating at me, and it’s a hungry demon, dash it.

-Norman Wallis returns next Bookfest!

-copyright Simon Sandall.

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