Book fair may lack pseudo-models, but it can still set the pulses racing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 October, 2010, 12:00am

For avid readers unsettled by our book fairs being swamped by scantily-dressed 'pseudo-models', the Antiquarian Book Fair in December will be lang mo-free.

Since most of the books at the fair will be more than 100 years old, there'll be no chance of coming across photo books of teenage models. But there'll still be some controversial items for savvy collectors.

The fair promises lofty exhibits such as an autographed copy of Karl Marx's first edition of Das Kapital and a translation of a Confucius text published in 1687. There'll also be a 1953 copy of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale.

But there'll also be a Chinese 'pillow book' (an illustrated manual given to young couples on their wedding night) and a hand-painted watercolour book of ancient Chinese punishments.

'They are also part of the culture ... we shouldn't be ashamed of these,' Sydney-based organiser Paul Feain said. The veteran antiquarian book dealer was in town yesterday to promote the fair.

'This isn't just a book; it's a whole work of art. I love the feel of it and the romance of an old book. I think we never really own these books. We simply take care of them. We'll be long dead and these books will still be here, being cherished by someone else.'

He's got a point. We probably wouldn't be passing on our Kindles, iPads or other fancy e-book gadgets to our kids. They'll be outdated in a few years.