More and more Bookcrossers arrived over the next hour or so, and at 5.30 pm wombles turned up to escort us on the train to Fortitude Valley, where the convention registration evening was being held.
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The registration evening was the usual mix of great people, good food, and great books of any TGFKAM, but multiplied by about ten. There were at least 70 Bookcrossers present, a *huge* table full of books, another covered in wrapped books for a mystery book swap (I contributed The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman), and everywhere I looked there were faces I recognised from Sydney or Christchurch, or nametags with familiar names from the forums that I was finally meeting for the first time. Our goody bags were overflowing with brochures (on Brisbane and on fruits and vegetables (something to do with the fact that we were using the GrowCon boardroom for our function – one of the Brisbane Bookcrossers works there – which led to newk questioning whether he’d unwittingly come to the Fruit & Vege Convention instead of the Bookcrossing Convention); bookmarks; postcards; snacks (including goodies from Toronto and Dunedin); a bottle of water; a notepad and pen; a balloon (for reasons never explained); a badge; a name-tag (cleverly, a hang-round-your-neck lanyard type, rather than a pin-on one); a “convention survival kit” (consisting of:
A safety pin, to hold yourself together when the excitement gets too much.
A hug voucher, because everyone needs one!
A bandaid, for those blisters from walking all over Brisbane.
A mintie, because at moments like these you need…
Sample sun lotion, because you’re in sunny QLD.
And… a tea bag, in case you get into hot water!
and all contained in a Bookcrossing release bag); and, of course, a book (I got True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey).
The convention was declared open by caldron, and the mystery books were distributed (I got Flashback by Michael Palmer), and books for the sweepstakes were collected up (my contribution was Where Did It All Go Right? by Andrew Collins – later I remembered that I was supposed to have contributed a NZ book, but nobody seemed to mind). Journals and travelling creatures of all shapes and sizes were being circulated to be signed and/or photographed with, plus at least two “cheat books” (the fact that I’d left the NZ cheat book behind in Christchurch was a minor matter – servalan and I just faked one up from a sheet of cardboard, reasoning that if it’s a cheat book, then we could cheat as much as we liked!), and newk even had a few t-shirts with their own BCIDs (leading some of the purists to complain that it was supposed to be BOOKcrossing, not Toyandtshirtcrossing).
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Newk turned out to have a vast supply of t-shirts with him, and every so often would disappear off into a side room to change into another one. He even gave me one to wear, promoting Dunedin in 2006.
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Books I released to the book table or passed on to other bookcrossers:
Alessandra: Alex in Rome by Tessa Duder
Right Where It Hurts by David Hill
A Joker Like Me by Robin Booth
Then Upon the Evil Season by Noel Virtue
Like You, Really by Kate Flannery
Celebrity Cats by Larry Wright
Sheiks of Summer by Susan Mallery et al
The Matchbox House by Marilyn Duckworth
Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg
A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones
Yule Be Mine by Charlene Teglia
It’s Not You, It’s Me by Alison Rushby
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Journals, toys, and t-shirts that passed through my hands over the evening:
RubyJules’ Bookcrossing Journal
The Australian “Cheat Book”: Little Johnny and the Naughty Boat People by Christopher Milne
Newk’s “Wish you were here” t-shirt
Wombles’s Favourite Books Journal
The original New Zealand Cheat Book… sort of