Rare gems in Founders book haul

ANOTHER CHAPTER:  Maggi John prepares Founders Heritage Park for this year’s Book Fair.
ANOTHER CHAPTER: Maggi John prepares Founders Heritage Park for this year’s Book Fair.

Bookworms, get your skates on. It's time to get ready for the annual stampede to the Founders Book Fair which opens this long weekend.

Volunteers are now decking a hall at Founders Heritage Park with tonnes and tonnes of books, including a bigger selection this year of rare and unusual titles, book fair co-ordinator Karen Clark said.

Book fair volunteer Garth Gavin, whose job is to check out all the books that come in, said one of the nicest this year is a leatherbound copy of the 1896 Glimpses of New Zealand which contains a selection of photos from around the country taken in the 1880s and 1890s. Copies of the book retail for around $500 but the price tag at the Founders fair is $150.

Gavin said another rare title on offer was Tales of Three Campaigns by local author and war hero CB Brereton. The book was published in the 1920s.

Also on offer was a rare first-edition volume of War and Peace, which sells overseas for around $2000, Gavin said.

Clark said there were about 60 to 70 more boxes this year of good quality paperbacks, plus several copies of Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries, winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

"People have read it and handed it on. One of the things this fair has taught me is the value of recycling books. I love books, I read them then hand them on so others can enjoy them," said Clark, a former regular attendee of the fair who became involved in helping to run it about four years ago.

Last year's fair raised $124,000 which was used to build a proper book storage area, and to help with road sealing within the park.

The annual Founders Book Fair begins on Saturday and runs until June 8 with boxes of books brought out regularly throughout the week. Doors open 10am-4.30pm daily. Entry $2 per person, or $5 for a nine-day pass. Children have free entry.

The Nelson Mail