A Book Town Adventure

Today, I finally got to go along to and explore the annual Book Town event at Clunes, Victoria. A friend and I have been trying to get ourselves there for probably the last two or three years and we finally made it! After a brief detour where we got onto the wrong freeway and were actually heading towards the opposite direction, we found our way towards the sleepy town of Clunes for some book gorging. We just hoped it wouldn’t rain.

We finally arrived in Book Town after an almost two-hour drive and not without some anxiety that we would get lost. We arrived bright and early because we had to leave in the early afternoon to head back to the city. Friends couldn’t believe that I would actually get up so early on a Sunday, drive two-hours just to buy old books. As we made our way to the town centre we passed a little Shetland (at least I think it is) pony in somebody’s front yard!

Since we  were so early, people were still setting up. We were expecting more stalls but I guess the threat of rain pushed stallholders inside as a precaution.

What I found most impressive were these little sign holders decorated around the area. We wanted to snatch some and take them home with us but we resisted.

It’s a bit scandalous what they’ve done to the books but I suppose, at the very least, they’re being put to good use now and where people can admire them in a new light. From the moment we parked the car, we spent a solid four hours browsing through all the stalls that were there without getting tired or bored. We only stopped for lunch because we were famished and tired from our heavy packs. There were plenty of great stalls with a great selection but not as much literary fiction as I had expected. I did manage to pick up some great buys and bargains. It was lucky that we bought along backpacks to carry our purchases but they were very quickly weighed down. It was pretty funny seeing others in the morning also carrying empty backpacks around and then seeing them lugging it back to the car in the afternoon. There was a great atmosphere and it was quite fun to be surrounded by other bookish people who had travelled to Clunes for the sole purpose of pouring over books.

Here is my haul:

  • Iron in the Soul – Jean-Paul Sartre
  • The Marvellous Land of Oz – L. Frank Baum
  • The Rape of Venice – Dennis Wheatley
  • All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
  • Paddington Abroad – Michael Bond
  • Agatha Christie Crime Collection: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, They Do It with Mirrors, Mrs. McGinty’s Dead – Agatha Christie
  • The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  • Thank You, Jeeves – P.G. Wodehouse
  • Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
  • The Wedding Group – Elizabeth Taylor
  • Full House – M.J. Farrell
  • The Chequer Board – Nevil Shute
  • No Highway – Nevil Shute
  • On the Beach – Nevil Shute

All were fantastic bargains. The last three Nevil Shute books were only $2 each so how could I resist? He is the author who wrote A Town Like Alice which is on my TBR pile. I was pretty excited to find some Virago in great condition. They were so clean and pristine. My most favourite finds were retro-ish editions of Western Front, Paddington and, of course, Land of Oz.

Some of the books are quite old and as much as I love brand new, pristine books I also love the history behind a old, well-loved book. I especially love those that ‘feel’ well thumbed through. Little markings like inscriptions, dates and even name plates adds that little something to the books.

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22 comments

  1. Sounds like an amazing visit, I love the picture with the flag on the pile of books! 🙂 I love Agatha Christie´s works and Fingersmith and P.G. Wodehouse is always fun. The Shute books sound like a bargain. I´m going to read his On the Beach soon, hope I´ll like his style. Happy reading! 🙂

    1. I’m glad somebody else knows Nevil Shute. I was a bit hesitant about getting those books but they were such a great buy. The downside to those red editions is that they don’t have blurbs or anything at all about the story so I have no idea what they’re really about.

  2. It sounds like you had a great time in Book Town. I share your experience of books getting heavy soon when you have to take them with you in your bag. The books you bought look fantastic, I too love the look of the Paddington book :).

    1. Paddington is so adorable. The funny thing is is that I never read Paddington as a child and only discovered him a few years ago!

    1. I’ve heard great things about Elizabeth Taylor and I’m sure I’ll love her. The Wedding Group sounded really interesting.

  3. I’m so glad you got a photo of the pony! I was walking toward it and saw a black thing moving about, and just thought it must have been a dog; walking past it and it “neigh”ed (there’s probably a proper word for the sound a horse makes but I don’t know it!) and I was very taken aback! It even followed me down the fence like a dog would! I had a bit of a laugh.

    It was a lot quieter both seller and crowd-wise this year for some reason, but it seems like you found some awesome stuff and had a great day anyway. Love the Paddington!

    1. My friend screeched out suddenly that there was a pony as we were walking! It followed us too and kept sniffing our hands, like a dog, probably looking for food. It seemed a little bizarre. I hope it gets plenty of exercise!

      I was thinking perhaps the threat of rain was keeping the crowds back or perhaps people have recovered from the recession and are back to buying brand new books? Nevertheless, I had fun and I’m hoping to head back next year.

    1. I’m very glad I’ve bought them now after these comments! And a little sad that nobody else had wanted them. Shute sounds great.

  4. That’s an impressive stack of books you found, not to mention a complete bargain! I love those kinds of events. You reminded me how long it’s been since I went to the flea market. I should make a trip of it this summer… see what I can find on the bargain table.

    -Lydia @ The Literary Lollipop

    ps. looking forward to Lost tonight; all I have to say is, this episode better be packin’ some heat!

    1. I love these sort of markets. I’m over the moon there’s one dedicated to books! I had a resolution last year that I would only buy second hand books to help local booksellers and also my wallet. :-p Worked a treat but there were some difficult titles.

      I’m very looking forward to Lost. There’s only 4 more episodes left! Ahhh!

  5. Great haul! Thank You, Jeeves was the first Wodehouse I ever read, and I LOLED (I mean, LOVED) it.
    And Paddington? Weee happy reading ^_^

    1. What a great title to introduce you to Wodehouse. I’m pretty stoked I got the first in the Jeeves series. I remember coming across a thesis about Wodehouse and Jeeves and I was jealous I didn’t think of it first. That would have been such fun!

  6. I would have been tempted by the Shutes as well. I think I am going to have to make an effort to go one year, and yes, I want one of those signs too!

    1. It’s just one of those things you must do, I suppose. :- ) I recently found out there’s a little ‘book drive’ on the way to the Dandenong ranges which sounds like fun.

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