I went along to the 'world's biggest' something...and it was amazing.

It’s not often one attends the ‘world’s biggest’ anything, but I have. Just recently, I went to the Lifeline Bookfest in Brisbane, which is, according its website: ‘the largest second-hand book sale event in the world and an experience not to be missed’. Both statements are true.

I talked my husband into going with me as he hadn’t been for a few years – he bought one book and a half dozen DVDs. I won’t say how many books I ended up with!

We had a choice of three sections: High Quality, $2.50 and $1.00. The latter was absolutely packed and I saw more than a few hired trolleys filled to the brim. It’s a wonderful outing for the reading family, mum and dad taking turns to shepherd the kids while the other does a quick recce alone.

When you consider the range of genres available, this is a feast for everyone. The Bookfest website lists the different sections: Children’s, Australiana, History, Reference, Humour and Oddities, Biography, Literature and Classics, Textbooks, Travel, Health, Science Fiction, Hardback Fiction, Art and Music, Paperback Fiction, Cooking, Computers, Religion, Foreign Language, Vehicles and War Craft, Hobbies, Sport, Gardening, Animals, Penguins and Pelicans, Economics, Sociology, Philosophy, and Science. Penguins and Pelicans – really!

Plus table after table after table of magazines, stationery, videos, CDs, cassettes and records.

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Many a uni student finds just the thing for the year ahead. What I love about it is that you can be super lucky and pick up a book you’ve been idly wanting for years. And many times you find a book that’s just perfect for you, and you didn’t know you’d want it until you rescue it from the massive pile. You have a quick flip-through, and it’s the book you just have to have.

The website tells us that since its humble beginning in 1989 in an old warehouse in Bowen Hills, the Lifeline Bookfest has grown in size and popularity, with some customers travelling interstate for the event.

For almost 20 years, the Bookfest has been in Brisbane’s Convention & Exhibition Centre where it’s ‘a sight to behold with two great halls lined up with millions of books on over four kilometres of tables’.

The treasure I found was a book I’d normally not consider, on the topic of walking, of all things. An unusual design for the title attracted me and I just picked it up on a whim. The Lost Art of Walking, by Geoff Nicholson, an inveterate walker. The books begins with him falling, inexplicably, while merely walking. He broke his arm in three places. Recovering, it hurt like mad when he walked, as did other parts of his body as they adjusted to the weight of the cast. So he stopped walking and started writing this book.

I didn’t know I would enjoy a book about such a mundane activity as walking, but it’s wonderful. Thanks, Bookfest.

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I can’t wait until June for the year’s second Bookfest. I expect to have my current selections finished and returned to Lifeline for other discerning readers to find!

Do you love second-hand book sales? Would you agree we tactile humans will always love a real book, in spite of ebooks and kindles and iPads?

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