Event: Clunes Back to Booktown.

Last weekend I went to Clunes for their annual Back to Booktown event, encompassing more than 60 booksellers in almost every store on the main street, plus churches, historical buildings and marquees erected especially for the weekend.

As I’ve blogged about here and here, I’d been wanting to attend for the past two years, but the lack of public transportation and friends willing to drive there (as I don’t have a car nor a license) meant this was the first year I could go.

My friend Andrew and I trekked the two hours from Melbourne to the country town located somewhere between Ballarat, Creswick and Maryborough; a town so small it defaults to Ballarat when looking it up on a weather website. (It was sunny and 11° on Saturday. Brrr!)

Honestly, I was surprised by the sheer amount of booksellers. I was expecting a couple of old buildings and trestle tables and that was it. Granted, the town is small, but there’s a reason people flock from far and wide to Clunes for a weekend in May.

I managed to unearth a couple of Bret Easton Ellis books for under $10 each, a copy of The Catcher in the Rye for $12.50 (steep for a secondhand copy, but c’mon, it’s J.D. Salinger!), and Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. I also saw a copy of Perfect Murder, Perfect Town by Lawrence Schiller on the JonBenet Ramsay murder, but I wasn’t sure I could commit to a book that thick on a subject I already know a lot about. Plus, I already have Joyce Carol Oates’ My Sister, My Love ready to go after I finish The Great Gatsby, which is a fictional account of the crime. Alas, when I decided to go back for it it had already been sold. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

There were also some fabulous food stalls at Clunes, with baked potatoes and Dixie cups, but I was most impressed by Widow Twankey’s Lolly Shop & Ice Cream Parlour, which sold the cheapest lollies and cakes in town (or most towns, for that matter!). Of course we stocked up on Red Skins (the racist lolly of the masses), Fantails, boiled candy and Toffee Apples. Yum!

While I was planning on picking up a few more titles than I did, I will definitely be making an appearance again next year, and I urge you to, too. Book lovers will feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven.

Related: Go Back to Booktown This Weekend (2011).

Go Back to Booktown This Weekend (2010).

Elsewhere: [Back to Booktown 2011] Homepage.

[Widow Twankey’s] Homepage.

Event: Go Back to Booktown This Weekend.

Yes, for those of you who’ve been with The Scarlett Woman from the beginning, I have already used this title for a blog post this time last year.

But it is that time of year again when the Clunes Back to Booktown book fair rolls around again.

I’ve been dying to go for the past two years, but canceling friends and no drivers license meant I’ve had to sit it out. But this year I managed to wrangle a friend with a car, and will finally be making an appearance at the fair.

I tell you what, it’d better bloody be worth it!

I’ll regale you with my tales of the city country town next week.

See the website for the location, times and how to get there.

Related: Go Back to Booktown This Weekend.

Armistead Maupin in Conversation with Noni Hazlehurst.

Elsewhere: [Back to Booktown 2011] Homepage.

Go Back to Booktown This Weekend

This weekend marks the annual Back to Booktown event in Clunes, in country Victoria.

I was unable to make it last year and, alas, due to work commitments, lack of transportation and an overdrawn bank account, things look to be the same this year.

I cannot recommend the event via personal experience, but any excuse to get your grubby little mitts on some second-hand, rare and/or out-of-print tomes is well worth it in my book (pardon the pun).