‘Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!’ (Job 19:23)

Also known as My Blog Post About The Christian Aid Book Sale, which itself shall hencefoth be also known as One of the Most Amazing Book Sales I Have Ever Had The Pleasure to Attend. You can find out more official information about it here:
https://www.christianaid.org.uk/events/st-andrews-and-st-georges-west-book-sale
but as for why it was so amazing for myself in particular, allow me to explain.

My story begins with my dear friend Mon (alias monicaburns_art on Instagram). For years her Dad had told her about an amazing book sale in Edinburgh in May but, as this was always around exam time at school and university, she had never been able to go herself. This year, she decided, would be the year she finally travelled through to Edinburgh to see what all the fuss was about, and invited me to join her on this journey. I warned her that this was a mistake, as my bank balance would surely not recover.

We went anyway, of course. The book sale ended up being a five minute walk, if that, from the bus station, which turned out to be incredibly useful considering the number of books we ended up buying. We had come prepared though, with our giant backpacks on and wielding an empty suitcase – better the book sale break our bank balances than our backs!

When we arrived it Edinburgh it was absolutely glorious, and I don’t just mean the weather – though that was pretty brilliant too.

There were boxes of books everywhere, and I mean everywhere. On both sides of the church, on tables, under tables, inside the church, in pews, even upstairs on the balcony. Here are a few photos, all credit to the wonderful Mon, to give a sense of the scale on the inside of the church:

And that was only the inside of the building. Outside there were boxes upon boxes of books, from vintage and out of print books, to an entire box of purely orange Penguin classics, from books on history from ancient times to the present, and an entirely seperate section specifically for military history. These photographs are my own – I would have taken more had I not had my arms full of books for the best part of three hours.

Mon and I were like the proverbial kids in a candy store, moving hither and thither as hurriedly as our unweildy bags would allow, near to bursting with excitement at the prospect of filling them with inexpensive books – and yes, we did manage to fill both backpacks and the suitcase. We first explored outside the venue, where we found the history books, biographies, sci-fi, hardback fiction, crime and romance. Having begun in the same place by virtue of it not being too busy, we soon seperated as we looked for books to suit our particular interests, from Scottish history and fiction to plays and basically anything I could get my hands on concerning twentieth century Russia. Occasionally we would phone each other when we found a book we thought the other may be interested in, since it got to the point where we couldn’t see each other for the crowds, and the boxes of books on every avaliable surface.

Eventually, three hours and several bank notes later, we reunited outside the church. We would have continued to browse the sale were it not for the fact we were starting to get rather hungry – that, and our backpacks were complaining that they were full. Having popped into a nearby restaurant for a well-deserved late lunch/early dinner we began the long trek back home, before promptly spending the rest of our evening admiring our piles of books, and starting to work our way through them.

I am incredibly grateful to Mon and her Dad for introducing me to this amazing book fair – the UK’s largest fundraising event, which has raised over £2000,000 since it began in the mid-1970s. Part of the reason for that is probably because this isn’t the only venue – there are also connected book sales in two other locations in Edinburgh this week…

Needless to say, Mon and I will be back – and, as of yesterday, this is now our annual tradition.

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