Book fairs of recent years have been somewhat changeable. They’re usually fun, they’re always hard work. Sometimes you don’t sell any books. Occasionally this doesn’t matter that much. Occasionally. One of my favourite Boston book fairs was commercially disasterous but featured, amongst other delights, a young librarian from Harvard being so overcome with excitement about the Tolkien letters I was showing her, that she began quoting great strings of his verse at me…in Elvish.

Such behaviour is nearly always going to make me all weepy with joy a) because I’m a  geek of quite cyclopean proportions and b) because you don’t truly love something until it has made you faintly, beautifully, endearingly ridiculous. This being the book trade, someone is bound to ask me whether she was declaiming in Quenya or Sindarin, which is yet another reason to love my job.

Apart from meeting elves and buying and selling books…

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