Today was the first day of the annual DCM Bookfair. It's been a milestone in my life for as long as I've lived in Wellington. Like everything else, it's been affected by change. For years, Harvey and I went together, then I went alone. After he died I started volunteering there, mainly because I wanted to help DCM - but also because I thought working at the fair would prevent me from buying too many books.
There is, of course, no such thing. I've yet to see a reality show about people who can barely move in their house because of their hoards of books. I reckon books make great wall insulation, too...
Anyway, this year I had my son home for a holiday from his teaching job in China. His timing was perfect, because for years I've had to hunt out books for him and then post them to him at exorbitant cost, since NZ Post has stubbornly refused to recognise the vital importance of having a special rate for books. This year he could choose his own, and carry them back himself. Meanwhile I would do my morning stint, followed by a brief bout of shopping.
I was very good. While I was channelling my inner librarian - floor-walking, answering questions ("Where is the chicklit?"), tidying up the tables, and (my favourite thing) relocating misplaced titles - I saw more than a few books I wanted, but I didn't collect any until I was free. Of course, by then some of the ones I'd spotted had gone, but that was the luck of the game - I just wasn't meant to have those particular books. After all, there were plenty of others to choose from.
I reckon you could get an entire lifetime's education, as well as vast amounts of pleasure, from what turns up at the fair. Of course I saw quite a few that Harvey would have liked, but never mind, he certainly never went short of books. Here's what I ended up with.