i love bookstores

I won’t be in West End that much longer.

Mainly due to upcoming travel.

Firstly, to Melbourne – my nephew’s first birthday.  

And then across international borders, to places I never imagined I would visit – to join my husband while he’s there for work.

So, today, a typically muggy Queensland summer Sunday, after a nap – I fell asleep while watching the second season of Morning Wars (obviously enthralling viewing … I jest, it’s actually a good watch) – I decided to explore my local area.

Specifically, I decided to visit the local bookstore: Avid Reader Bookshop.

I love bookstores.

I’ve loved bookstores ever since I can remember.

There’s something magical about them.

The smell of new books, the quiet, the delight of losing yourself within the words on the pages as you peruse each shelf.   

One of my earliest (and best!) memories of visiting a bookstore was when I was in primary school.

It was in autumn (always a magical time in Melbourne), and my mum took us there – a place that very quickly became one of my favourite bookstores, in Carlton, on Lygon street – in-between visits to The Royal Children’s Hospital where my older brother was having appointments.

I believe it might have been Readings Carlton. A Melbourne icon.

There was just something about that store that even now, all these years later, I can’t quite describe. It completely captivated me.

I was also a huge fan of Oprah, even from that young age, and I think the book mum bought me that day was one from Oprah’s Bookclub. I felt so grown up and so intellectual. 🙂

And ever since (or even earlier than that) I’ve loved perusing bookstores.

So, because I’m travelling soon (and because some months ago I decided it was time to transition to a Kindle) I haven’t quite allowed myself to be drawn into the magical world of bookstores – mainly because I know I never walk out empty-handed.

But today I decided to do it.

And it was enchanting.

A waft of that new-book smell hit me through the surgical mask I was wearing the moment I scanned in and stepped across the threshold and into the store.

“Ah …,” I sighed, taking a long breath in and a moment to look around the store.

I never really go into a bookstore knowing exactly what I want to read … or to buy.

I simply love being there – among the words, pages, books, the quiet.

As I perused each shelf, making my way through each section – Crime, Fiction, Travel, Biographies, Philosophy, Language and more – there was nothing but the soft sound of … well in this case it was Matchbox Twenty competing with the jazz club across the street.

The sound of Matchbox Twenty took me back to my uni days when I’d spend each break at Chadstone Shopping Centre, in Borders bookstore specifically, drinking giant mugs of coffee while sampling the many books I had intended to purchase.

Today my intention was just to have a look.

I hadn’t planned to buy another book.

While Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s biography caught my eye, I swiftly put it down.

Too heavy for my upcoming travels.

However, it seems I can’t leave a bookstore without succumbing to my book-buying addiction.

I spotted a book on one of those displays where staff make their book recommendations, as I was just about to leave.

Sigh.

I bought it.

A little overpriced? Sure. But it’s about supporting these independents, so they don’t disappear, right?  

The book? On All Fronts – The Education of a Journalist by Clarissa Ward.

And that’s how I’ll spend the rest of my Sunday – reading.

A book. Not a Kindle.

Because there is just something splendid about turning the pages of a book … and you don’t get that when you read a device.

x G.  

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