Book markets…

Book markets…

… of the past months. Hah, I’m a terrible blogger and months after the fact I still want to blog about these!

Firstly, on August 5th on a Sunday, Europe’s largest book market took place in Deventer. So we (two of my fellow Sparrow & Nightingale book club members and me) headed to Deventer, armed with a car and gigantic wishlists! The weather looked promising, except for completely random severe rain showers.
The book market was amazing. It opened at 9:30 and lasted until 17:30. We arrived around 10:00 and, including lunch, literally spent seven hours walking and walking to see every single book stand (a grand total of 878!). I swear we died and went to heaven. They had everything: literature, children’s books, non-fiction, comics, you name it.
I must say we were disappointed by the amount of English-language fiction, which we were expecting more of since it’s advertised as the biggest book market in Europe. Big, but not too international, beyond some stands from Belgium. I suspect we would have bought more if we had been more actively looking for Dutch literature instead… This we will keep in mind for next year.

Now… our collective haul:

And my personal haul:

I’m very happy with the Japanese and Dutch literature especially. Of the above pile I have so far only finished Het geheim van de klokkenmaker, a children’s book about a time machine. Loved it!

Truth is, I can never resist a good book market. So when I was in Japan and my friend informed me of the Kanda Used Book Festival I didn’t have a choice, did I?
Tokyo, as a gigantic metropolitan area, has many districts dedicated to one or two types of stores (for example, Akihabara is the go-to district if you need electronics). Kanda and Jimbocho is Tokyo’s book district. Book shops everywhere. Along Yasukuni Street and its back alleys you can find more book shops (approximately 150!) than you could possibly visit within one day. During the festival these book shops are displaying wares along Yasukuni Street for a week.
The variety of books sold was impressive. Literature, non-fiction, antique books, children’s books, English books, postcards, the whole lot. I loved going past all the stands and see what they had. I was very close to buying an antique book or a beautiful print. In the end I was too worried about bringing either home (or across Japan, for that matter) without damaging them though. In the end I only bought a few antique Takarazuka Revue post cards:

(In fact, I behaved quite well during my trip to Japan and only bought four books, all by Haruki Murakami.)

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