Oct 3, 2016

Book Fair 2016

It's book fair time again! Rummaging through the used book sellers' stalls is a draw in itself, but this year the mystery writer Donna Leon, best known for her Inspector Brunetti books that take place in Venice, was one of the guests. I was lucky enough to catch her interview on Saturday. 

That's her on the left. Sorry for the bad pic, but the hall was packed. I like the Brunetti books because they have a marvellous sense of place and they're not overly violent, like those CSI-on-paper type books. The interviewer called the books "soft-boiled," which is quite fitting.  Leon actually talked about that a bit. She believes that it isn't good for people to read violent scenes and she doesn't like reading them, or writing them, for that matter. Apparently even Aristotle said it's better to have violence happen off-screen. She talked about her process a bit, too. Leon is a pantser, so she just writes the first chapter, which tells her what the second chapter will be, and so on, but when she teaches workshops, she tells young writers to outline, because it's good advice. The interviewer also asked her about where she gets her ideas, and Leon said she gets a lot of them from a local newspaper. She cited an example of why she loves the paper: there had been an article about a woman who had murdered her husband, carved out his heart, and eaten it, and because the staff is meticulous about details, there was a little aside explaining the name of the local dish she cooked it in, and then the recipe(!) Did I mention I like Leon's sense of humour? 

Oh, and want to know what book she'd take on a deserted island with her? She asked wether she was allowed to take the complete works of someone, and the interviewer agreed. Then she said she probably should say Shakespeare, but actually she'd choose Dickens, because she loves his work and there's quite a lot of it. Inspector Brunetti's wife drops a lot of Henry James references in the books, and so the interviewer asked, why not Henry James? To this Leon responded: "I have never considered Henry James a beach read."


I also stopped by the Turku Science Fiction Society's stand, which featured Ten and the TARDIS. Also, stormtroopers spotted shopping for used books. Glad the Empire is promoting literacy.

In the "cool but ridiculously expensive" category, this original Finnish translation of The Hobbit, titled "Dragon Mountain."  It has the original gorgeous illustrations by Tove Jansson, and the hilarious translation of Bilbo Baggins as Kalpa Kassinen, for example, but at a hundred and fifty euros, I just couldn't.  

Luckily these fabulous chocolates at the food fair took my mind off of it.

Here's my haul:

Taivaalta pudonnut eläintarha (The Zoo that Fell from the Sky) by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, Älä Riko Pintaa (Don't Break the Surface) by Katri Alatalo, Tulevaisuuden varjo (Shadow of the Future) by Edith Södergran, and The Key to the Key of Solomon by Lon Milo DuQuette.

And liquorice, of course. (The pile on the right is Hubby's catch. He's into the Russians.)


  1. Nice loot.
    A colleague at work and I have both had the experience of reading comic books in a cafe, to the delight of small children. "Look Mom, a grownup reading comics!"
    I hope I never grow too old for comics and loot and imagination.

  2. Yep, growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional, as Walt Disney (I think?) said. My favourite moment like this was when I dressed up as Iron Man for my nephew's birthday, and when the Christmas toy catalogs came he pointed to every Iron Man figure and said: "Auntie Anna!"


Hello, stranger. What's on your mind?