This week it was time for the Appledore Book Festival which is always a highlight of my year. Of course, this year the festival had to look a bit different. There was no antiquarian book fair and we certainly couldn’t gather a couple of hundred people into a hall many times a day.
I was convinced the whole thing would be cancelled or at least broadcast online only. The organisers though were determined to rescue something and came up with the brilliant idea of holding the UK’s first drive-in book festival. It was a stroke of genius and they couldn’t have had a better location – just look at the view!
As I was working at the festival, I got to hear most of the talks and I had such a great time listening to some fascinating people. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and I honestly can’t think of many things better than sitting in a field listening to people talk about books. Naturally I was well supplied with snacks too!
The whole festival was a delight but there were some highlights for me. Richard Osman was as brilliant (I’ve read the book – more on that another time but it is good!) as I expected and I also loved listening to Adele Parks and Viv Groskop. I could have listened to all of them for hours.
Of course, I couldn’t go to a book festival without bringing home a few books. Ths is quite a small haul but I am very much looking forward to reading them.
I loved this festival and in a way I will be sad to go back to normal next year. Naturally we hope that next time the audience will be able to sit together and actually meet the authors but it was so wonderful to have the whole event contained in one area. It would be lovely if the next event could still be outside or in a series of marquees – maybe there could also be a tea tent with a view of the sea!
I have posted before about my love of tiny bookshops and I have a new one to share today!
Last week I went to visit my Uncle and found this lovely little book shed outside a church. It was dark and we were too incompetent to be able to turn the light on but this is exactly why we have torches on our phones!
I spent a very happy time rummaging through the boxes and shelves – which were beautifully organised and far more user friendly than many I have seen. Of course, I couldn’t leave without actually buying a book so I bought three (because why not?) and marched happily along the road clutching them to me.
As I said, it was dark!
I was very pleased with my selection too – Mother Goose illustrated by Arthur Rackam, a copy of Dorothy L Sayers’ Unnatural Death to replace my falling apart copy and a signed(!) copy of Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson. I just read my first Atkinson – Transcription – and I loved it so I am very excited to have another to read!
Like most of you (I imagine!) I am constantly on the look out for book shops. The lure of a book shop is almost irresistible and I love to find new ones to explore.
Some of my favourite finds though have been the mini book exchanges and charity book shops which seem to have been popping up in more and more places recently. Not only are they unexpected, they are often very beautiful as well.
How lovely is this?!
I have seen several in old phone boxes too which I love. The only trouble is that unless I know when I leave the house that I will find one I very rarely have a book with me which I can swap – only the one I am actually reading. Still, that just means another trip to find some books and that’s not really a hardship!
On Sunday I had a stand at a book fair as part of the Appledore Book Festival. The day started off with pouring rain and I thought we were in for a very slow day. However, by the time we opened the sun was shining and everything was beautiful.
I ended up having a great day. Obviously selling books is good but more than that I had some wonderful bookish conversations which meant that I would have enjoyed myself if I hadn’t sold anything.
I had such a lovely day. Yes it was hard work but it was so good to have the opportunity to talk about books with so many people who love them.
On Saturday I took my book stall out for its first outing of the year. Previously I have always had it within a larger marquee or room full of other stands. This time I didn’t have that option so I had my own little gazebo to set up. I had tried a practice run at home and was quite excited about having a space to myself which I could make cosy and just how I wanted it.
We had to arrive early as we had some entries to set up in the craft classes and as it was a reasonable drive I decided to stay and start setting up. For one thing, I didn’t really know how long it would take me with the new gazebo.
That turned out to be a great decision. It was so much more relaxing to have a leisurely set up process instead of rushing and getting stressed. I have been known to get so wound up when short of time that I have actually been unable to remember the alphabet. That was not a fun experience and this was far more enjoyable.
Even better was that fact that my sister lives close to the fête and kept us constantly supplied with tea and cakes. Such a luxury!
Once I was all set up I had nothing to do but sit in the shade and read until the fête opened. It was a lovely, sunny day and even when the crowds started arriving it just meant that I could talk to more people about books – which is after all the point of having the stall in the first place. That and selling some of the books of course!
It was a delightful afternoon. There cannot be many better ways to spend time than sat on the grass with a book, good conversation and listening to music from a Dixieland band. Bliss!
As well as reading voraciously I also love to talk about books. One of the best ways to get to do that is to sell them so that is what I do – I have a stand of vintage books which I take to local shows.
Last weekend was my local village fête and my stall and I went along to take part.
I am very particular about the books I sell. They are all either books I have read and loved; books I really want to read – which unfortunately makes me reluctant to sell them; or books I would describe as, ‘Nice.’
Nice is one of those words English teachers try to discourage. It is overused and there are so many better, more descriptive words which could take its place. However, in my family it has a very specific meaning and describes lovely things which can’t really be quantified any other way. They are just nice.
All this means that I can talk enthusiastically about any of the books on my stall with anybody at any time. There is nothing quite like the feeling you get when you recommend a book you think someone will love and they actually take your advice. It makes my day.
I had a lovely time at the fête and took the opportunity to wear my new dress. How could I not?