Lifeline Bookfest

I have to admit that I’m a bit funny about secondhand books. I suspect it’s because I’m a bookseller. I love the look and feel of new books; I enjoy the ownership of new books. However, I do also love the Lifeline Bookfest.

I go largely for nostalgic reasons – the kids tables always hold stacks of memories – but also to trial authors or series, and for the moments of discovery. It’s not enough for me to think ‘I’ll eventually read that’: my Bookfest buys are the titles I MUST have. Last weekend brought me three such treasures:

Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell – I’ve been meaning to track this down since it won a bunch of prizes last year. I saw it and considered it and then I opened it and I was sold. The print is a lovely bluish black, and it’s full of beautiful ink sketches, particularly of cats. [Later note: read my review here.]

The Storm Makers by Jennifer E. Smith – I have a thing about twins in children’s and YA fantasy, which I’ll go into in a later post. Long story short, I collect this specific subcategory of book. I’d seen this title online a while back, but hadn’t expected to be able to get it and so forgot about it. Then – in one of those delightful Bookfest coincidences – I picked it up.

Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge  – I read Hardinge’s Costa Prize-winning ‘The Lie Tree’ earlier this year and was blown away. ‘Twilight Robbery’ looks like another dark, Victorian-flavoured fantasy, but with more fantasy and a murderous goose. If this wasn’t exciting enough, the author recommendation on the cover was from Garth Nix, whose Old Kingdom series I adore.

Oh, but I was tempted by a pop-up edition of ‘Peter Pan’, which was also a sound-book. The audio, however, was so faint and tired, and I already have a pop-up Peter that is very bright and beautiful. I persuaded myself that I couldn’t justify another, but I did regret leaving it. Perhaps, at another Bookfest, we shall meet again.

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