19 March 2017

Weekly Small Talk #4: The Annual Swedish Book Sale (+ A Haul)

Welcome to Weekly Small Talk, where I catch up on the latest book and pop culture- related news. This week, I also come to you with a very special book haul. For the past three weeks, I have been a pious attendee at the annual Swedish book sale, one of the most important events in the life of any professional book nerd.

I have been attending this book sale thing for many-many years (although I rarely went home with as many books as this year), and I got curious about its origins. In my search for the truth I turned to where any self-respecting writer would turn: the Wikipedia.

The annual book sale - or Bokrean, as it's called in Swedish - started all the way back in the 1920's as a means for publishing houses to get rid of the books that were no longer in publication. There were no rules as to how this event was supposed to be managed. One publishing house would usually start it up and the others would follow suit. Over the years, some basic rules and agreements were established, and some important questions were set on the table, like where would the annual sale fit best on the calendar? For instance, it could not coincide, or be too close to Christmas - a much older and more revered tradition of consumerism extravaganza. So in the 1930's, the publishing houses agreed on setting the opening date somewhere in the middle of February.

Fast forward to the days when the rules of the Book Sale are being regulated by the Swedish Book Sellers Association, and when most of the consuming is done online. Now you don't have to leave the comfort of your home to get a bargain price on a book you didn't know you wanted, as both the physical and the online stores lower their prices for a few weeks during February and March.

This year, I bought a total of seven books, two comic book collections, seven comic books, and one tee shirt.  Half the fun of going to the book sales is the searching. I feel like a detective or an explorer, meticulously searching through each shelf, making sure that I'm not missing any hidden gems and forgotten classics. All in all, it was a good hunt.

The Bell Jar 
by Sylvia Plath

It's one of the twentieth century classics, and I thought it was a crime to not take a copy.

American Psycho 
by Brett Easton Ellis 

This bestseller was made into a "fairly" popular movie adaptation with Christian Bale. I for one haven't seen the movie. Nor have I read the book, so I'm going in pretty much spoiler-free. 

The Prestige
by Christopher Priest 

Another best-selling book turned into a movie starring Christian Bale (if you're seeing a pattern here, it's totally coincidental). In this case, I have seen the movie. Which makes me even more excited about the book.  

Ender's Game
 by Orson Scott Card

The first book in a sci fi series, considered to be the original YA dystopia.  

The Universe: Leading Scientists Explore the Origin, Mysteries and Future of the Cosmos 
by John Bruckman (editor)

The title of this collection of essays speaks for itself, I think. 

The X-files, Season 10, volumes 2 and 3

And now I have both the canon season 10 on DVD and the "alternate Universe " season 10 in comic book form.  

Buffy and Angel Comics 

Got a bunch of issues of "Buffy" comic books as well as "Angel and Faith" comic books for only five kronor per issue. 

by Jack Werner

This is one of the two books from my haul that I have read before. You can read my review and the interview with the author, and find out why this book finally made it to my shelf.

These last two books were not on sale, but I bought them last week so here we are: The Songs of Distant Earth and 2001: A Space Odyssey, both written by Arthur C. Clarke. I read 2001 before but the other one is a real mystery to me.

Finally, I got an X-files T-shirt, for like one quarter of its original price. I guess that makes me pretty good at bargain shopping. 

Well, that was the haul. And now I'm officially issuing a book buying ban... okay, not a ban. I could never do that. Let's just say, I'm taking a break from book hauls, and focusing my attention on the books I already have, as well as the many titles in my school library. 

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