The magical aspect of book fairs is that with the simple addition of books and sellers correlated under one roof, any building, whether large or small can be instantly transformed into a book lover’s wonderland. Take what is an ordinary skating rink, conference center or school on the exterior, and enter the interior of a literary utopia. To the dedicated book collector, the senses are immediately filled with exhilaration and joy upon entering the threshold of such an incredible scene. Literary volumes call from their bookshelf perches, beckoning the collector to experience firsthand their priceless value and unsurpassed beauty. Fellow book sellers smile their greeting and call out to each other in friendly tones, and the rich smell of bound volumes and aged pages swirls amongst the soothing atmosphere.
Unlike book sales, a great benefit which book fairs offer is the leisurely pace that is set, allowing the collector to slowly browse the treasures which are to be beheld, rather than rushing around as is the common practice in book sales. Rather, book collectors are offered the chance to slip away from life’s stresses and turmoil, and become encapsulated in the ameliorative and therapeutic world of books for as long as they like. While careful consideration is given to the browser’s privacy and space, another bonus to these events is the book sellers’ genuine consideration in supplying exactly what the purchaser desires. Do not be surprised to suddenly find yourself jolted out of your euphoric reverie by a friendly face inquiring as to whether you are finding everything to your fancy. Indeed, conversing with these seasoned and colorful book sellers is a truly vital part of the book fair experience.
One delightful annexation of the already incredible book fair atmosphere is the arrival of various and intricate forms of art. After all, do not great books and beautiful art naturally go together? I am certain that throughout history this was not the first union of the two. On a previous escape to a Vermont book fair, I was thrilled to come across vibrantly painted book sheaths which one seller created himself, and at another table, earthen jugs which perhaps had once been used to tote water in, alongside an intricately embroidered apron. To be enthralled with historical details pertaining to these rare articles, one simply has to ask the obliging sellers who are just as excited over the finds as you are. Indeed, to the troubled and weary soul who has stumbled upon the wide open doors of book fair bliss, the amalgamation of precious and valuable literary finds along with beautiful and extraordinary art may be just the remedy needed.
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of attending a book fair, is the mere fact that multiple book stores’ contents have been blended into one setting, allowing for the collector to be, in a sense, in multiple places at once. By perusing the unique collections of each seller and observing the exquisite art that is scattered amongst the books, the collector not only senses great joy and contentment as each article is viewed, but an eclectic medley of various cultures and backgrounds which arises, reminiscent to European street marketplaces. While granted, the sellers inhabit relatively local states, it is quite interesting to find out where each of them are from, and to feel as though you have entered into their distant book stores in their home states, without venturing further than the building which the fair is held at. At the aforementioned Vermont event, I came across sellers who were from Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania.
In short, to experience a kaleidoscope of beauty, literary masterpieces, warmth, laughter, relaxation, excitement, diversity and beauty to name just a few things, allow yourself to attend one of these wondrous book fair events. It will not be a choice which is ever regretted. Attending a book fair will not only restore and rejuvenate the parched and weary book loving soul, but will greatly aid and benefit a growing antiquarian book collection!