19th International Book Fair in Krakow just ended and, as usual, I spent there a few hours and way too much money. Sure, it’s 1/10 of exhibitors and 1/5 of visitors of the one in Frankfurt, and I’m sure there are many other way bigger fairs – but it’s the one I can get to by tram 😉
So, there is that, and an important family event also, so no review as such today, but a look at my haul – and some reviews may follow later.
It’s not as big as it used to be and it’s mostly comics. I get most of my books from Amazon Marketplace, used English copiers way cheaper than Polish translations. The Fair is a chance for me to see what is being published here and to find some things the went past my radar – blogs I read and Amazon recommendation engine. Signatures… I don’t care much for them, I have a signed copy of Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, but I got it by accident (found it in a bookstore in Krakow… what were the chances of that 😉 ). This year some of my favourite publishers were absent, especially genre publishers. And the prices… there were some discounts, but due to a rather strange rules of Polish book industry similar discounts are available every day if you know where too look.
So – first, Harry Potter. I’ve read the books and tons of fanfics, but I don’t actually have HP on my shelves. And now there is this great illustrated edition, published also here, I just couldn’t stop myself:
After all, my niece is already two years old, she’ll be ready for Harry any day now, won’t she? The illustrations are really beautiful and it’s a chance she won’t have her visual vision of Harry shaped by the movies (good as they are). The publisher promises one volume each year, so Deathly Hollows by the time she’s nine… I don’t know much about kids, but sounds about right 😉
Elric, vol. 2. Volume 1 I got in English last year, this one is slightly larger, but I wanted to support the publisher. And English version is also a translation, it was written in French. Art is definitely European, the series has Moorcock’s seal of approval. Completely different style than Fables, but still a great read.
Rabbi’s Cat, vol. 6, by Joann Sfar. A continuation of another French graphic novel, a great combination of story, religion, philosophy and good art. It starts when a cat gets a gift (or rather a curse…) of speech and how it complicates his life… A great insight into, previously almost unknown to me, culture of Sefardi Jews (Jews exiled from Iberian Penisula that spent a couple of centuries in Arab world, in contrast to Ashkenazi, Yiddish speaking Jews that stayed in Europe. Great graphic novel, one I show everybody to prove that comics can be smarter than many books (some people still find it hard to believe…).
Alejandro Jodorowsky and Castaka. Author is very interesting, and comics are only part of what he does. He almost made a Dune movie, before Lynch, he had some stunning ideas (see a documentary about them) but didn’t get enough money and probably the special effects technology wasn’t ready for it… Castaka is a tale about samurai in space that I bought convinced by its publisher’s enthusiasm.
And some untranslatable Polish comics… Wilq is an indie parody of superhero genre, Likwidator is our answer to V for Vendetta, only much more brutal and anarchistic (!). And it resonates with me particularly well right now, since exit polls of elections that took place today predict a crazy-right ultracatholic Law and Justice’s win. Law and Justice… even the name is ridiculous, is it some western or a modern democratic country? With majority that won’t require them to form a coalition. They can’t change constitution, but apart from that… it’s not good.
Well, I bought a couple more books and games, for presents mostly, but I won’t get into that. I’m going to go cry a little…