Lisbon Book Fair 2011

The Lisbon Book Fair (LFB) is the largest literary event here in Portugal, both in attendance and in size. Keeping alive my annual tradition, I went there a couple of times last week.

During the week it was very easy to browse around, check out books, and so forth. On Saturday, though, it was very crowded to the point where in some sections we couldn’t even see the books being sold properly. The very high attendance this weekend was, most likely, a combination of people attracted by good weather, and people who skipped the Fair last weekend due to intense rain and went there this one instead.

This leads me to mention that I think the Fair should shifted to a couple of weeks after the current dates, to at least attempt to dodge the rainy weather that characterizes April. I realize that part of the point is to (maybe?) allow students to get exam support books before their exam season, but classes typically go on until the end of May or start of June, and getting those specific books in mid-May still seems like adequate timing.

On one hand, I enjoy seeing the Book Fair so populated, but on the other hand, going through that many people isn’t my ideal setting for open air book browsing.

There are a lot of events with authors from different publishers, which I believe make the Fair even more interesting for attendees. It’s a chance to meet some authors, to get books autographed, and sometimes to watch some interesting debates.

I went there on Saturday in part for the ‘Batalha’ by David Soares, illustrated by Daniel Silvestre da Silva pre-launch event. The four different cover colours were a pleasent surprise (you can see them at the author’s site, in a photo by Gisela Monteiro), as was the design of the cover itself. I’ll have to read it later, because kitten is currently reading it.

Price-wise, I found several nice deals in the used books stands (lots of Marion Zimmer Bradley in one of them), and also in the other stands, with buy X books-get 1 book free promotions, and end of stock books at lower prices. We got the novels and graphic novel I mentioned on my previous post, and between lower prices and offers, each item cost 10 euros in average. Not bad, for brand-new books.

Literature aside, the Lisbon Book Fair is also known as the place were you eat farturas, churros (*), popcorn, sweet cotton, icecream, hotdogs and other… let’s call them ‘culinary delicacies’. All of this while browsing for books in open air, of course. That part of the LBF tradition remains unchanged, and I could swear there were more food stands than in previous years.

All things considered, it’s still one of the events I most like to attend, and I reccommend doing at least one trip there.


(*) Footnote, since I didn’t find an exact, correct translation to English for both those terms:

Farturas – Closest translation is ‘fritters’, but not like the search for fritters means. These are farturas: fried pastry covered in sugar and cinnamon.
Churros – similar to farturas, but smaller, and can have a variety of fillings, ranging from chocolate to strawberry cream. Pics here. More traditional churros are plain, and to be dipped in hot chocolate. But that’s at home.


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