My booky weekend

Despite not doing nearly as much reading as I had planned, I have done a lot of book-related stuff this weekend. There was book art, a book fair and lots of book-related TV and film. It’s been fun.

First up was BABE; that’s the Bristol Artists Book Event for the uninitiated. Thanks to Joanna of Ephemeral Digest for alerting me to it.

It’s a big event, with more than 100 exhibitors showing their work, which varied from book-related art, to books about art, to books that are art; along with small presses which produce pamphlets, comics, magazines and books with varied levels of artiness. This is a great event for anyone who loves printing, typography and books like me, but it’s mostly about the art. Some of which veered closer to pretentious than inspirational. Sorry. But overall I enjoyed this and it is fantastic that there are so many artists and small presses out there.

A fair bit less pretentious was the books, food and “made in Bristol” day of the Harbourside Market, which I found out about thanks to Martin of Bristol Culture (thank you Martin).

This was a little on the small side. I certainly didn’t see a whole lot of advertising for it. Maybe they were hoping that the natural footfall in that area on a weekend would be enough. There were definitely punters around but not all that many stalls. Which is a shame. A few of the book stalls were just the usual collection of literary fiction erring on the bestselling side, but there were a couple where the stall owners showed something more – carefully chosen well-designed covers, thematic arrangements, a real celebration of books. I hope it’s back again soon.

Also showing wares on the harbourside was local illustrator Tessa Farlow, from whom I bought these very cool pin badges.

Finally, thanks to the BBC Year of Books I sat down to watch TV adaptations of Christopher and his Kind, and The Crimson Petal and the White, plus a fascinating documentary about Frank L Baum. I know it’s not unusual for good TV and film to be based on books (see my other preoccupations this weekend, the films of Atomised and Thirteen at Dinner) and the BBC has for years been churning out Shakespeare and Austen interpretations, but this recent stuff does seem particularly good.