At the start of March last year, I went for a couple of weeks with my parents to Melbourne and Sydney! We decided to take things easy tourism wise and just play by ear.
Which meant that I ended up dragging my parents to some pretty bookstores and second hand bookstores. And also buying books. Even though my dad shamed me every time, because APPARENTLY, “I wasn’t gonna buy them in the first place but then mum said to go ahead” is not a good enough excuse…
While in Melbourne we went to visit the Triennial Art Festival where I promptly got too excited by all the photography and art books in the shop! Especially as the #GirlGaze book featured a friend of a friend, who is an amazing photography called Masie Cousins! I was super excited to see her work but also because it featured another friend, Celia Edell!!
I was also super excited to see these Dada art books. I have a soft spot for that movement..
CITY BASEMENT BOOKS
City Basement Books is a used bookstore hiding in a basement that is larger than it seems and stocked to the rafters of everything you could want!! My dad was very relieved there was a couch he could chill on while my mum and I rummaged around.
They had LOADS of copies of the Analog SF magazine and I even found a copy from the month and year I was born!! I was very tempted to get it but in the end I resisted. But I did not resist completely and got a copy of The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, which is something I’ve been wanting to read anyway.
HARES AND HYENAS
Hares and Hyenas is Melbourne’s only queer and sexuality bookshop! It also has a cafe and a live performance space. There were loads of interesting books and even loads of leaflets with useful and helpful information for the community. I ended up getting a book about London’s queer history, which was NOT an impulsive buy, thank you very much. I had seen this book before and was interested but didn’t buy it at the time. This time I caved and got it since I wanted to support this bookstore. 😎
I like to visit all kinds of bookstores when I travel, even the chain ones!! I know, FOR SHAME. But whatever. You never know what you’ll find. And in this case, I found something I had REALLY wanted to get… MY BABY’S BOOK!!!! TO MY TRANS SISTERS BY CHARLIE CRAGGS!! She’s so amazing and I love her very very much and you should buy this book.
The book adventures didn’t stop when we went to Sydney either. Gleebooks is a lovely bookstore with an amazing art book collection on the second floor. I found a copy of a book of Claude Cahun’s photos and it took SO MUCH EFFORT to not buy it.. It was so big and heavy…. but…. I want…. I did get a book anyway… but it wasn’t Claude Cahun… ☹
There was no fucking way I was NOT going to drag my parents with me to visit a bookstore called SAPPHO BOOKS. NO WAY NO HOW.
They have a beautiful little cafe and a bookstore cat too… Perfection….
We almost got this book from the 1950s about raising a Basset Hound for my sister because she loves those dogs, but in the end we didn’t because what would she do with it? Although a little part of me now regrets it..
I love how they had a little section of John Marsden books. Like of course you would. Can’t be an Australian bookshop without some Marsden books amirite.
When I saw this book of goblins from Froud and Jones I near lost my damn MIND. In high school a few close friends and I got SUPER obsessed with the film, The Labyrinth in the midst of a Bowie obsession and I think it’s safe to say that I am still hugely attached to that film and it’s universe. So you just KNOW I couldn’t leave this precious tome behind.
GERTRUDE AND ALICE
From Sappho Books to Gertrude and Alice, Sydney seems to love naming bookstores after lesbians and I am here for it. This store is on the way to Bondi Beach and I deffo think it’s worth a visit. They are also a cafe so you can just chill for a bit and go through some books and they don’t seem to mind!! The toilet is pretty cool looking too.
And that’s it!! I’m sure there are more bookstores in Sydney and Melbourne that I didn’t know about or missed but I’m pretty happy with what I did get to see. And probably it was for the best that I didn’t see more… My weak willpower on not buying more books probably wouldn’t be able to handle it…