Pick out gems at the Harmony book fair

What are your plans for the break? Karen de Bot has hers all ready: she’s going to curl up with a great book. If you need something to read, the Harmony Building is the place to be this Thursday.
By Sisi van Halsema

Between 12 and 3 PM the annual university book fair is held in the Weber foyer, featuring food and drinks, a piano recital by linguistics professor Jan-Wouter Zwart and Christmas carols sung by the USVA board. All proceeds will go to the Food Bank.

Karen de Bot, who works for the RUG Pre University Academy, has been organizing the fair for six consecutive years now – and has been loving it every year.

boekenmarkt
Karen de Bot

So what is the purpose of this book fair?

‘It’s mainly a fun event, for people who love to read. The fair started approximately thirty years ago. Enthusiastic staff at the Faculty of Arts wanted to do something nice for Christmas. And each year, the book fair supports a different charity.

How do you come by the books to sell?

‘For us in the organisation, this fair is a great opportunity to clean out our own bookshelves every year. But we also ask around and post announcements online. Every year, we find ourselves getting more books than the year before. People donate all kinds of things: cookbooks, DVDs, but also trade literature. I brought in three big shopping bags full of books myself. It’s mostly crime novels: once you know whodunnit, there’s really no point in reading those again. But they make for nice and easy reading over the break. I’m also donating the Game of Thrones series.

What would you say is so great about reading?

‘Reading such a lovely, cozy thing to do. It’s an escape from reality, but without television’s high impact stimuli: no dramatic sound, no moving imagery. A book actually stimulates the reader’s own imagination. And books can bring people together.’

What is your personal favourite?

‘I don’t have a particular book, but I’m an avid Stephen King fan. Whenever I pick up one of his works after not having read them for a while, it’s like coming home.

 Do you have any book-searching tips that might come in handy on Thursday?

‘Most of all, I would say take the time to thoroughly look. It will be a bit disorderly, because we don’t really have the time to sort and categorise everything. We do, however, pick out the books we think stand out most and make sure they’re laid out on top, to make browsing a little easier. I personally love sifting through everything, picking out the gems.’

19 December 2018 | 19-12-2018, 12:08