Saturday, November 14, 2020

Marysville BookNest

This past week has seen the 'ring of steel' between the Melbourne lockdown area and regional Victoria finally lifted - so, of course, my husband and I have been out and about, enjoying some long walks in places we haven't been to for months.

I'm pleased to report that Warburton's Wee Warbee Bookshop has survived the long lockdown period, and it looks as if the Marysville BookNest has as well. We visited Marysville on Tuesday, and the bookshop is open from Wednesday to Sunday, but certainly the building (a replica of the town's original police office) still appears to contain the bookshop, which opened almost three years ago, in January 2018.

Next time we visit Marysville, we'll make sure we go on a day the bookshop is open, so I can blog about it.

If you're in the area, it's worth visiting Bruno's Art and Sculpture Garden in the town as well as the nearby Steavenson Falls. Marysville is also close to Lake Mountain, which is great for hiking in summer and (I'm told) cross-country skiing in winter.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Little library at Wandin

Now that we can exercise within a 25km radius rather than the 5km one, my husband and I have walked a couple of sections of the Lilydale to Warburton rail trail. This follows the path of the former railway line, and is primarily used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. 

Near what used to be the old Wandin railway station is a little library. Pre-COVID-19 I used to always carry a book in my backpack, so I could swap it if I came across a title I wanted in a little library. That's something I'm going to have to start doing again as Melbourne opens up.

Shops are still closed for a couple more weeks, so I'm going to look out for little libraries on my walks, and let you know of their existence should you also plan on exploring the outer easern suburbs as the restictions ease.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

A fictional bookshop

When I wrote in my last post that I wouldn't be visiting any second-hand bookshops for a while because of COVID-19, I had no idea that seven months later I'd still be spending pretty much all my time at home. Melbourne went into a second wave at the end of June, and we've all been tightly locked down since July - and particularly since August when a 5km travel radius was brought in, along with a curfew, and a 1-hour (later extended to 2-hour) exercise limit. 

Although I haven't been able to visit real bookshops, I've been spending a bit of time creating a fictional one. I've been writing stories for The People's Friend magazine for just over a year now, and in June came up with the idea for a story set in a second-hand bookshop in the fictional English village of Haweshill. It was published this week, and I've had two more stories about Matilda and her bookshop accepted, and there's a fourth currently in the system.

Melbourne's cases are now minimal, and we're all hoping to be able to find a COVID-normal soon. I'm looking forward to exploring real bookshops again at some point soon.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

No bookshop browsing for a while

Stating the obvious here, but with the current situation, I shan't be visiting second-hand bookshops around Melbourne and Victoria.

If you're looking for a particular second-hand book, many of the bookshops I've visited recently sell through Abebooks, or direct from their premises.

So please do support second-hand bookshops by buying online if you can, so that they'll still be there for us to visit on the other side of this.

In the interim, stay safe.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Syber's Books

What's better than one second-hand bookshop run by a knowledgeable person? Two! And with Syber's Books you get exactly that.

Syber's Books is run by a husband and wife team and consists of a bookshop in Malvern and a warehouse in nearby Caulfield. Penny runs the shop and David looks after the warehouse. Although they call it a warehouse, it's open to browsers. Both premises are open daily from midday till around 5.30.

Syber's Books, Malvern
We visited the Malvern shop first - it's bigger than it looks from outside, and my go-to section, the children's books, can be found right at the back. In several places, the signs on the shelves didn't match the books on them, so I'm not sure whether that's a permanent thing, or whether the shelves were in the process of being rearranged.

There were a couple of cats wandering around the bookshop, and there was a cat smell towards the back of the shop that bothered me but not my husband (I like cats but have never had one, whereas my husband grew up with cats). Hence I didn't spend long looking at the children's books, but the titles I saw were mostly more recent - from the 1990s onwards. The sports book section (also near the back of the shop) was impressive, with a good many cricket titles.

The warehouse in Caulfield is huge, with so many books that you could spend hours browsing. No children's books are stocked there, but there are extensive crime and sci fi fantasy sections for readers in those genres.

The warehouse also contains a section on alcohol and there are plenty of cookbooks (David is a MasterChef fan). Both Penny and David know their trade well, and also sell online, if you live too far away to visit.

Penny's shop is at 227 Glenferrie Road, Malvern, while David's warehouse can be found at 666 Glenhuntly Road, Caulfield.

Syber's Books, Caulfield

Monday, February 17, 2020

Bound Words

If you're a 'girlsowner', there's nothing quite like the feeling of walking into a new-to-you second-hand bookshop and discovering it has an extensive collection of vintage kidlit.

It's always a bit like time-travel finding shelves full of titles by authors like Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, Angela Brazil, Enid Blyton etc. Especially when there are plenty of hardbacks!

So I was delighted to discover Bound Words in Hampton over the weekend. It contains the best selection of vintage kidlit I've seen for a while. There was even a Girls Gone By title in there - The Mystery at the Chalet School with the short story, Robin Heeds the Call. It is water damaged, but still a perfectly good reading copy, and only $7 should anyone reading this be interested in buying it.

The children's books are in the very back room of the three-room bookshop. Non-fiction (including art, music, history and education, as well as - somewhat incongruously - plays) is in the first room, with general fiction in the second.

There are lots of eateries and shops in Hampton, and Bound Words isn't far from the beach. I'll definitely be heading back there over the next few months.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Little libraries

I really enjoy coming across little libraries and looking to see what's in them. Recently, I had a run of finding books I wanted and then having to return the next day to replace what I'd taken. So now I've taken to slipping a book in my bag or the car, just in case. (And, of course, sod's law - I haven't found anything I want since I started doing that!)

I'd quite like to set up a little library outside our house, but until then there are a few favourite ones that I check out when I'm on my travels. Locally, there is one near Lilydale Lake, outside Lilydale Aged Care, and another in the Alchester shopping area in Boronia. The Boronia one is outside the Koko Lime Cafe, which I haven't been to, but it seems very popular, indicating the coffee is good. 

Little library near Lilydale Lake

Little library in Alchester, Boronia

I'll start adding little libraries to this blog, when I come across them. They're a great way of both coming across second-hand books and passing on books you don't want to keep.