December 2, 2008
I adore bookshops. Libraries too, but I haven’t found one in Sydney that feels right. There’s something incredibly soothing about being surrounded by so many words and thoughts, all neatly ordered. I go to bookshops when I'm in a bad mood, works a treat - 20 minutes and it's all better. Borders can eat a dick, we like the independent ones.
Our favourite bookshops (in Auckland and Sydney) are:
Gertrude and Alice, Hall Street, Bondi Beach, Sydney
I’d never really bought second-hand books until I started coming here. They have such a good selection – all the books you’ve been meaning to read for ages. And so cheap, cheaper than the magazines I buy. It’s really silly but I own literally hundreds of books and I’ve always bought them new. I like the virginal pages or something. I come here most Sunday afternoons for peppermint tea and lady conversation. They always have good music playing (Cat Power, good for hangovers) but the food sucks. I might be a vegetarian (mostly, oops, I ate a steak for the first time in years on Sunday, holy shit) but I don’t like hippie food.
Ariel, Oxford Street, Paddington, Sydney
Can I live in here please? Between Berkelouw over the road and this nice, spacious airy place, I’m so happy. I want every design and art and photography book in this shop to come home with me. Good magazine selection too- why is it so hard to get the magazines I want in this city? Ariel has a really, really good buyer and it’s open late enough for me to tipsily spend too much money when I’m heading home from dinner. Thankyou.
Dear Reader, Richmond Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland
I think the lovely lady that owns this shop has read every single book in here. She’s so cute. You tell her what you’ve been reading and she asks questions like ‘where will you read it’ and ‘what do you do’ and then suddenly you’ve spent $200 and you’re carrying a big, ungainly paper bag to your car and you have to take an extra bag to Fiji. But it’s worth it.
Unity Books, High Street, Auckland
This is another good one. I have this thing with my Dad, which is our disorganised version of a book club. I give him a list of books-about-music that he should read (currently featuring Please Kill Me, Dark Stuff by Nick Kent, Simon Reynolds history of hip hop and Chronicles by Bob Dylan). He buys them and then we take turns reading them, swapping them when we’re in the same country and talking about them in emails. Then we promise to make each other CD’s that relate to the books, and never do. It’s nice. Anyway, this is where we get our books from, mostly.
Parsons, Lorne Street, Auckland
I went to high school and university just opposite this shop. It’s crammed with beautiful art books, which at the time I couldn’t hope to afford. I used to browse for hours on end, and no-one ever said a word (probably cause everyone else was doing the same thing). Don’t get confused and mistakenly wander into the new-age-bookstore next door. It’s creepy.