BYBLOS: The last six years, Lebanon witnessed over 50 book fairs organized by bookworm Eliane Abi Chedid, and the journey is still ongoing.
Bibliophiles of Lebanon took part in yet another successful two-day book fair organized by BookYard, a community-based initiative and event pioneered by Abi Chedid in 2013, at the CLAC gardens in Byblos’ Old Souk this weekend.
The book fair has participated in various cultural events in different areas of the country, the CLAC gardens, however, remains its most particular location.
“It’s not the end of paper,” Abi Chedid told Annahar, “and the reactions we see in the faces of the book fair visitors reveal how, for many readers, physical books are more precious than the ones online,” she added.
An advocate of Abi Chedid’s statement was passionate bibliophile Aya Tamer, 25, whose T-shirt read “Books Before Boys.”
“I cannot thank BookYard enough for organizing this magical market almost every month,” Tamer said, adding: “Before I found out about this book fair, commercial bookstores used to exhaust my bank account. I have saved so much money by trading my old books, and buying second-hand ones for much cheaper at BookYard’s events.”
BookYard is composed of diverse sections, which cater to all the possible needs of readers. There's a section for exchanging books (with the exception of school books and textbooks), where people can trade their old reads for new ones.
Booths selling a huge selection of used and new books for discounted prices, creative book accessories, notebooks, paintings, and even antique writing tools and desk materials provide lovers of art with everything they need for affordable prices. Even the service of book restoration is available on spot.
Another beautiful aspect of BookYard is that it gives aspiring Lebanese artists and authors a platform to showcase their creations on both locally and internationally.
Author and poetess Grace Tawile, painter Sevag Armenian, and illustrator Jihane Fares are some of the creative minds who participated in this weekend’s event.
Yasmina is another avid reader who was selling second-hand books in one of the stalls. “With technological advances, the book culture is slowly dissipating,” she told Annahar.
Yasmina has been an active participant in many of the BookYard events. She described how with the increasing interest in online reading, people are sadly losing touch with the beauty of reading an actual book.
Kevin, another bibliophile who was strolling through the market satisfied with the recent additions to his book library, told Annahar: “The experience of reading when you can actually feel the paper, mark it, fold it, twist it, and even smell it, is on a whole other level. My friends call me an extremist, but I like to think of reading from a book an out-of-body experience.”
He added how BookYard never fails to impress him with the literary selections it features. “I once scored a second-hand copy of Doctor Zhivago from BookYard that had a romantic note from the 60s handwritten on its first page. I remember how reading it gave me a beautiful nostalgic feeling. You can’t come across things like that on e-books.”
As BookYard’s founder told Annahar, the book fair’s mission is to “bring books to the street, and this bibliophile cause has been thriving since 2013."
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.