Saturday, 31 December 2016

A Resolution You Can Keep!

And here we are having arrived at a new year once again! It comes around so quickly, as if every 365 days like clockwork! Joking! Unless it's a leap year. 

So it seems that everyone makes resolutions for the new year that don't seem to last past the end of the week. Maybe it's because they aren't fully prepared for the task ahead. And what better way to prepare (and procrastinate if we're honest) for the task than with a book! 

For example - always said that you wanted to begin writing one of these days? Perhaps to find yourself in our shop! Then why not try

HOW WRITING WORKS by Roslyn Petelin aims to help you write appropriately no matter the situation! Excellent, no longer will I write so formally to my friends. 

Maybe you wanted to grow your own fruit and veggies this year?  SMALL SPACE BIG HARVEST will help you maximise your space, time and skill to grow something delicious! 

And finally, if you freak out often (like me and sometimes merited sometimes not) then FRAZZLED by Ruby Wax who also wrote Sane New World is sure to keep you somewhat calm. And a little cheeky humour on the side never hurts either!

"I know what you're thinking - what if I don't want to stare at a butterfly wing or hear the single ting of a wind chime? My definition of mindfulness isn't about sitting erect on a hillock, legs in a knot, humming a mantra that's probably the phone book sung backwards, it's something that can help us all: learning to notice your thoughts and feelings so you can truly experience life."

Best wishes from the Andrew's team for 2017 and may your resolutions be fulfilled! See you in the new year. We reopen on the 3rd January

Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Science of Customer Queries

We love helping customers with their requests but there are some ways that you can help us help you! 

There are two types of customer requests (it is very scientific I know): the first is if they can't find a particular title that they have in mind and the second is if they need a recommendation. Within these two categories there are a myriad of different scenarios that can occur.

1. Not being able to locate a specific title
-  Having the exact title is a great start (and or author)
- I am always very impressed when customers bring the catalogue with circled items to check off!
- If you can't remember the specific title, perhaps try to remember who the author was, the front cover, the plot line or where you heard it being discussed (sometimes we get very vague requests and although we try our best it can sometimes be nearly impossible to find!)  or a mix of these features are always helpful too 

2. Seeking Recommendations  
- I do love to do this and my self proclaimed specialty is the young adult section stretching to kids and picture books (maybe because I can't stop reading them no matter how old I get) 
- Often I ask (for a child) how old they are, their reading level such as average or above, books they may have read before and liked which also help gauge what they may like, if they don't read then perhaps what hobbies they might have outside of reading 
- If you don't have any clue about what they would like (that's okay too) then let us, and by us I mean me what sort of book you'd like to give them. What do I mean by that? Well, something light and funny or perhaps something about growing up. It helps us to narrow down the possible choices! 

We haven't read every book in the shop - although we wish we had! - but we are often familiar with what's popular and the prize winners so rest assured that we'll do our best to find that something special! Not to mention rave about our personal favourites that always get a shout out! We love to help you so see you soon!


Saturday, 10 December 2016

It's Christmas Time (mayhem!)

Christmas is upon us once again (I think that it was before but it doesn't truly set in until December)! I always forget what Christmas in retail is like until it rolls around again and there's that mayhem that comes about with a lot of people in the shop! (And we're glad for it!) Thanks for choosing to shop local and support your local booksellers this holiday season!

We do complementary gift wrapping and can also help you if you need recommendations for gifts (or for yourself!). Thanks for being patient if we're serving customers or we're looking a little frazzled! Do feel free though to have a bit of a caroling session inside the store though if you so wish! 

Have a great Christmas season and don't go too crazy! 

Have you considered telling your kids about the truth about Santa - or you have already, get into the discussion here!


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

200+ Likes! We Like You A Lot Too

This week we reached 200 likers on Facebook! Thank you to everyone who has supported us through our social media accounts like Facebook but also Instagram and this blog of course! (A bit of an inception blog experience happening). 

This is how we feel whenever we see you in the shop and interacting online! It's been a long journey where we've seen what works and what doesn't as well as learning how to schedule posts.

This year has also seen our new website go live which is very cool because well, now we have a website! For those of you who have keen eyes you may have spotted the typo saying that gift vouchers were available in any demonimation... whoops that is clearly not what we want!

Check it out!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

What Do You Know?

Woah. So this week has been pretty crazy hey? Then again what week isn't crazy but with the election of the new President of the United States, that's a pretty big shakeup. Perhaps I just wasn't as politically aware during all of the other elections but I have never read as many articles covering the election as I have in the past three months. So I guess it's official, whether you're celebrating or crying inside (or outside, that's okay too) Donald Trump is the new POTUS for the next four years. So you may be asking yourself - who is this man? Behind the news and videos and articles and interviews, what does he stand for? What policies will he implement and how>? (Although no one really knows this. Sorry personal bias getting in the way). Sadly we can't tell you exactly how but we may have some books that will shed some light on who he may be in private.

One of these is the TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP by Michael D'Antonio that tries to look more closely at how his beginnings shaped his current persona.

If you're looking for a more light hearted approach there's Oslo Davis' WORLD ACCORDING TO TRUMP filled with many Trumpisms. 

In all honesty I will miss the Obamas, OBAMA IS SO FUNNY and if you need to be convinced look up the videos of him welcoming kids into the White House for Halloween! 

We also awoke with the news that Leonard Cohen passed yesterday too. And the wars rage on -  I guess time is always moving.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

At Least You Can Laugh at Yourself

Some of you may be fans of the Ladybird 'HOW IT WORKS' books - spoofs really, of the ones you used to read in your childhood. Including Mindfulness, the Wife, the Hipster, the Shed and Dating, they hit the spot of 'Hahahahahahahahaha that's so funny! Oh wait, that's me...'

Well now they've brought out a new selection to add to your collection! Okay, Blogger is hating me right now and not allowing photos to load so you'll just have to envision the covers. But they have released the Student, the Cat, the Dog, the Sickie and the People Next Door. Which will be the funniest? Come in and see for yourself! Apparently forthcoming for Autumn will be The Grandparent, the Meeting, Red Tape,and  Zombie Apocalypse. It's good to be prepared!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Music or Literature?

I'm sure we've heard it so many times already this week but Bob Dylan is the recipient for the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016. 

If you need some context, here's an article from the Rolling Stones Magazine. An excerpt follows "According to the Swedish Academy, Dylan won "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

Since its announcement a few days ago it has ignited debate about what is literature? What is art? Where does music fit in? What is poetry? Regardless of your opinion on what fits where it is doubtless that Dylan has contributed to the music, storytelling and lyrical scene more than a regular person could ever hope to in their lifetime! It's been interesting to consider also what can be considered as 'high' and 'popular' culture. I suppose working in a bookshop we have to keep pretty up to date with all the prize winners and latest awards results. It's funny though because 

  [Is this a good time to slip in that we stock music books and biographies??] 

But that also got me thinking when I saw this mammoth book 'HIP HOP RAISED ME', what other categories of music can fit into the literature category? Who can deny that some influences are pretty formative experiences in one's life (if not by even judging from the title of this book)?
I'm not a particularly huge listener of hip hop although there's both some stuff that I really like and also dislike. It's more the context and history of it as a means of expression that I'm interested in. From the Thames and Hudson website:

Hip Hop Raised Me is the definitive volume on the essence, experience, and energy that is hip hop, and its massive and enduring impact over the last forty years. It’s packed with contact sheets, outtakes, and glory shots of artists, collectives, and fans from iconic photographers including Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant, Eddie Otchere, Normski, Janette Beckman, Chi Modu, Nabil Elderkin, and Mark Humphrey, as well as photographs of hip-hop ephemera and vinyl courtesy of specialist collectors. With the help of his definitive catalogue of interviews with hip-hop artists from the 1990s to today, conducted at key moments in their careers and including Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Drake, Nicki Minaj, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, and the Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Semtex examines the crucial role of hip hop in society. He reflects on the huge influence it has had on his own life and the lives of many others, providing inspiration to generation after generation of young people. Taking a thematic approach, Semtex traces the characteristics and influence of hip hop from its origins in the early 1970s with DJ Kool Herc’s block parties in the South Bronx, through its breakthrough to the mainstream and advent of gangsta rap in the late 1980s, with artists such as Run DMC, Public Enemy, and Ice T, to the impact of contemporary artists and the global industry that is hip hop today. 

The recent release of Solange's album 'A Place at the Table' among many other releases is indicative of this as she comments on her experiences as an African American woman in America. (That's just a side note because I've had some of them on repeat!)

It's definitely a massive book and even though I couldn't open it thanks to shrink wrap it looks like it's full of photographs, interviews and other insightful information although that makes it sound drier than I'm sure it is. Personally, I think it doesn't seem right to exclude music from the grouping of literature, not to say that all music and lyrics can be considered literature and obviously not all literature is music, but in the way that words have been used to convey a message, idea or emotion. Obviously winning a Grammy in itself is a pretty big awesome deal but to say  why couldn't they just give Bob Dylan a Grammy instead seems a little demeaning and dismissive of the role that music has in people's lives and as a form of communication. I could definitely go my whole life without TV if I really had to but I doubt that the same could be said for music let alone books! Lyrics aren't necessarily 'just part of music' or 'just trivial entertainment' but can be incredibly profound. In the least pretentious way possible, give it the credit it deserves! Furthermore, it seems a little difficult to create such strong divisions between the different written arts. This can be seen when plays may be seen literature but not necessarily scripts or films. It's an interesting thought as to why.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Cats are Weird (and other books)

I feel like I may have done this before but perhaps it needs to be said again, what is with all those bizarre cat books we have? Let's take a little voyage through the new ones shall we?

Tiny Cat  is as you would expect, about very small cats. I do not know why these are a thing but apparently they are. I was wondering why it was so easy to get published but apparently the author has been a photographer for 20 years so whatever! It is pretty cute I will admit, but how many times can one read it? A lot apparently!

The second one is Cats are Capable of Mind Control which is actually only momentarily about cats. The rest is filled with inane trivia that I am to be honest, skeptical of its truth. Any story that starts with 'A woman/man who' with nothing else doesn't seem so fact checked...  But if they are indeed true they are interesting facts indeed. Well, read more to see for yourself!

Finally, Cats are Weird and more Observations by one of our favourite cartoonists Jeffrey Brown! He also penned the Darth Vader and Son/Daughter and you can bet this will be full of wry humour too! 

Happy reading!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Not Such a Gray World

As promised, here is my post about a talk that I went to last week. I know you've all been holding your breath to find out more. 

So last Monday I attended a talk at Deakin Edge (formerly BMW Edge) in Federation Square that was run by the Wheeler Centre. An excellent organisation dedicated to all things discussion. So I digress! The keynote for the night was Jon Gray - also known as Gray318, an American based designer and oh my goodness some people have the best jobs. Imagine reading new manuscripts and then creating covers for them! I mean it wouldn't be easy of course, the sheer number of covers that he has to do (approximately 100 per year) and the number that he actually likes (approximately 4 maximum out of those) does have you scratching your head about how he can come up with so much content. I suppose it's like most creative things though - I cannot recall who told me about writing, people think they will only write when they have a burst of inspiration but often it's actually about practice and just honing your skills even on the days that you don't feel like it. It was refreshing and comforting to hear that he of all people had designer block! You may be thinking, who is this guy and why should I care but if you frequent our shop you may see some of his titles. It's also sort of funny but I don't know if you remember that scene in the Devil Wears Prada where Miranda talks about how the haute couture styles filter down, it's the same with book design as well! 


But back to what I was actually talking about, the interviewer facilitator for the event was Australian designer called W.H Chong and you will ddefinitely know his covers! Someone else cool who I think found out about was Jamie Keenan. If you're interested in Aussie book covers (you know I always love Allison Colpoys) then check out Australian Book Designers Association ABDA here!

Some of Jon Gray's most famous covers (among many) 

W.H Chong covers

And just because here's a little Jamie Keenan for you


Saturday, 10 September 2016

Have a Fanning Moment

Recently, and by recently I mean yesterday, I went to a local gig by one of my favourite bands (Oh Pep! if you're wondering and if you've been in store on a day that I'm working you're likely to have heard them too!) who are from Melbourne. It must be pretty cool to play to your hometown after months of touring. But anyway, I digress. Before they began I saw some of the merchandise including a vinyl of their beautiful record, of course I could just buy the CD not to mention having it already on iTunes, a vinyl copy just seemed a bit unnecessary. So I thought that I'd mull over it during the performance to see if I really wanted it. Well the answer was yes. Not to flood you with my love for them but sometimes it is worth it to buy a piece of something you really love! For one their lyrics are simply sublime and having the album cover open up to two leaves with all the lyric inside is really lovely. And secondly, we met them and they signed it for me! Having a chat too with someone whose work you like is quite cool.

But how does this relate to books I hear you ask? Well, much like music (it is often lyrical thus word related) books can elicit that same feeling of fangirling. I'm not really a fan (haha) of that phrase but I'm yet to find a suitable alternative. I'll let you know when I do... There's just a very excitable feeling I have whenever I meet an author that I enjoy. If you must know I was probably a little too enthusiastic when I got to meet Maureen McCarthy when I was back in school but that was probably okay because it made up for the lack of large attendance from other students (how could they?!). You listening to them speak, unraveling their train of thought in creating the story, the characters and scenery and then you saunter up to them at the child sized desk ready with a pen in hand. I felt a bit embarrassed because some of my books (five of them) were in pretty messy condition not to mention, one was an uncorrected reading copy proof (bookshop perks!). But I realised that I had no shame regarding this and took a photo anyway ;) 

That was only half an hour for me but it's nice to look back on my book and see my name written in it by the same hand that wrote my favourite stories! I definitely want to start going to more author events and have more fangirling moments. And I encourage you to do the same! Were they what you expected? In a good or bad way? Do they have ugly hand writing in real life? So many questions!

The City of Literature Website (click the image) is a great place to start looking for events as is the Wheeler Centre here

In other news, I'm going to a talk this week about book cover design but you'll have to wait until next week to hear about that...

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Spring to These Great Reading Locations

Spring has sprung! That is incredibly cliched and for that I am sorry. But not that sorry because the change in the calendar officially marks the start of warmer weather (I hope anyway). Not that I don't like winter, I am a winter baby after all, but I will be honest and say that I think I'm running out of outfits... 

Hmm what does spring change for you?  For one it does mean that you can SIT OUTSIDE and read! Although you have to contend with bees and other grotesque insects, sorry if you're a bug lover. I just worry that a swarm will attack me. So, for this post I'll list some of my picks where you can have a good public peruse of a book.  

1. Library Lawns
State Library, University of Melbourne's (many I'm sure) libraries and my absolute new favourite Library at the Dock in Docklands. It is absolutely stunning. I have a weird thing about wood and concrete and metal and books of course. It's alovely communal sort of area away from the buzz of the main CBD. The water is calming too but don't drop your book in! 

2. Art Galleries
Of course how could you talk about places to read without mentioning my favourite NGV - either the Great Hall or Sculpture Gardens out the back. Convivial and comforting what's not to love? Similarly and in close proximity are the grassy areas between the Arts Centre and Hamer Hall (think where the Sunday Market is usually held). And if you're looking for somewhere slightly more secluded, just take a wander to the back of Hamer Hall - it's sort of like a little hill but quiet and a sunny spot (when it's sunny of course).If you want to feel like you're reading on the set of a dystopian wasteland (kind of) then the ACCC forecourt is pretty cool. Maybe to complement an angsty book?

3. Cafes
There is no shame in eating alone especially when you have a good book with you! I have just been alerted to the existence of a cafe in Heidelberg West that sells only scones. ONLY SCONES! Um yes please! It's called Jam and Cream and I have never been but it is definitely on my list. East Ivy in East Ivanhoe also has a nice vibe for chilling out and reading whatever you please. 

 4. The Museum
 I may be a bit of a nerd (that was never in dispute I don't think) but I love just hanging out at the museum. Exhibition building is stunning and the museum itself is surrounded by a number of gardens - from the rainforest part at the back to the Indigenous section that I'm pretty sure has eels in it... Carlton Gardens is conveniently nearby.Beautiful! And you can always go and stuff your face with Italian food when you're done in Lygon Street :) Although my favourite ice-cream place has since closed down. *quietly crying*

5. Federation Square
 Is this a cliche again? Maybe, but I love it or the banks of the Yarra when you only have a few moments to wait or read. What else can I say? They do have some pretty cool installations at times. 

Where do you like to read? I'd love to know!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Miles to Go

Woohoo! The Miles Franklin Winner for 2016 has been announced! Imagine the drum roll for...

Black Rock White City
by A.S. Patrić

During a hot Melbourne summer Jovan’s cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children.
Intensely human, yet majestic in its moral vision, Black Rock White City is an essential story of Australia’s suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams. It is a breathtaking roar of energy that explores the immigrant experience with ferocity, beauty and humour. 

And just because I can here are the judges' comments about the book from the Miles Franklin Award website

A fresh and powerful exploration of the immigrant experience and Australian life, Black Rock White City explores the damages of war, the constraints of choice, the possibility of redemptive love and social isolation amid suburbia.
Traumatised by the carnage and personal tragedies of war-torn Yugoslavia, Jovan and Suzana wash up in mid-90s Melbourne where, a former poet and an academic, they find themselves limited by language and cultural stereotype into roles as cleaners. 
A menacing sense of anarchy inhabits the hospital where Jovan works after an anonymous ‘Dr Graffito’ begins defacing the wards with cryptic, distressing messages. It is Jovan’s job to erase the evidence, all the while negotiating the blandness of a society that doesn’t see him, or the flashbacks of his former life and his dysfunctional marriage to Suzana.
In language as crisp and pungent as the chemicals Jovan uses to erase the graffiti, Black Rock White City submerges the reader in its unapologetic intimacy.  It is at times brutal, and frequently challenging, yet a deft poetry underlies its cinematic reach. Patric’s idiosyncratic awareness and sometimes disconcerting vision inhabits the margins between realism and fable as the novel’s invigorating vitality, astute wit and adroit observations on the links between language and identity gives us a roller-coaster read that pins the immigrant – and the wider Australian  - experience with an eye that is unflinchingly, and unforgettably, honest.

But what is the Miles Franklin Award? 
Established in 1957 to help foster Australian literature and talent, the award has seen some of the best writing that Australia has to offer. Alongside the Stella Prize, it isn't hard to see why Melbourne is a City of Literature!

Miles Franklin was a pretty cool lass but I'll let you do some detective work yourself...

Saturday, 20 August 2016

It's a Cath Kind of Day

We have suddenly gotten in stock some of Cath Crowley's collection of writings for young adults - including her latest WORD IN DEEP BLUE! Why you may be asking? Well the answer is that we've heard on the grapevine that one of the local schools are holding an author talk so naturally if you're going to meet an author you need a book to sign! And what better time to update your collection.

I love going to hear authors talk about their books, it's so easy to forget that someone is tapping away on their computers to write the story (or by hand if you're a bit old school). I've had the privilege of seeing Leigh Hobbs (thanks primary school), Cassandra Clare, Marcus Zuzack, Alice Pung, Melina Marchetta and Leanne Hall. I feel like there's more but I kind of can't remember... I'd love to meet Jaclyn Moriarty for one and ask her why she created a fictional character who I can never truly marry, I mean meet, in real life. It's hard not to have great respect for authors, especially those who write absolutely massive tomes, the sheer dedication. I struggle to write more than five thousand words. Practice! 

But back to Cath Crowley, we have 
- Words in Deep Blue
- Graffiti Moon
- The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain
- Gracie Faltrain Takes Control & Gets it Right

Which author or illustrator would you meet if you could? 

Happy reading!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

You Look Like A Book

Woah, so there are these things called #bookface ! Basically, where people take photographs of themselves with a book but as if they're a part of it... Okay that was a terrible explanation, let me show you an example from the internet or more specifically the Burlingame Public Library in Washington USA

I think you get the picture! Haha, get it? Yes I am super lame sometimes. It's pretty cool though and lots of different libraries are getting on the band wagon. I feel like people have been doing this for years - with CD covers and Vinyl - perhaps with just a little less precision.

You can read an article from the New York Times about it here!

The YPRL has been running a pretty amusing social media campaign. But here are some of the best (and worst) collated from l'internet. Imagine a world without the internet. Without books! Photographs are from a number of different library and private social media accounts. Actually, it's really hard to find bad ones online because who uploads bad ones? 

Show us yours and tag us in the picture on Instagram or Facebook!

Saturday, 6 August 2016

National Bookshop Day!

That's right folks, next weekend (Saturday 13th to be exact!) We'll having a bit of a smaller affair this year but still have plenty of giveaways! Come in and see us, we'd love to have a bit of a chat! Somethings that have happened since last Bookshop Day:

Our number of Facebook Likes has grown to 170

We started an Instagram account which has over 100 followers already! 

 We sell posters! And films! The last Harry Potter was released! So many good things.

Thank you everyone! 

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Spelling Bee

I have a small confession to make. I sort of hate the names that are specifically found in American teen and children's books. I apologise if any of these names are yours but they do seem extremely American and less common here. This was brought to my attention in more recent days as I was putting out some books on the shelves. I won't tell you the book but bonus points if you can locate it when you come in. So I was reading the blurb when it struck me. Why does everyone's name have additional and somewhat arbitrary letter y's?

I get that there are different ways to spell names but other than Adrienne, what is happening here?! Maybe because I have a friend called Mikaela I always think of it spelt that way but I see Michaela pretty often too. McKeyla just seems sort of unnecessary. I think of Mc-key-la. Then there's Bryden which is sort of both Bridie, Braden and Hayden. It's a wonderful mix. And finally Camryn. With a Y!!! Why!!! Or Y!!! I wonder if kids with really irregular spellings take longer to learn how to spell their names because they're often the less common pronunciations of letters. 

In other obscure book ranting news, I always wonder why books are titled 'Not just ____' for instance, hypothetically, 'Not just potatoes'. This seems sort of useless to me because I'm counting on the title to tell me what the book's about. I'm not automatically looking at it and thinking 'oh this is about potatoes' if there's nothing to suggest it on the front cover. Just name it 'Root Vegetables' because that's less vague than the former. If you say 'not just' then what else will you be talking about? This is real in depth bookshop thinking. I'll let you chew on that for a while ;)

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Banyule Bestbiz Awards!

It's that time of the year again! No, not Christmas - not yet anyway, but it's time for the Bestbiz Awards put on by the lovely Banyule Council. Electorates are slightly different to the local councils but I've realised that both Jagajaga and Banyule are actually pretty big.

There are eight categories to vote for ranging from fashion and wellbeing to produce and retail of course! Every entry goes into the draw to win $1000 so you've got nothing to lose :)

We'd love if you gave us a vote n the general retail section to show your support for local businesses!

You can vote here or grab hold of a flier at most Banyule businesses - including ours :)
May the odds be ever in your favour! (for the $1000... and just life in general)

Saturday, 18 June 2016

I Really Should Have Bought It

Only recently did I experience something quite sad - not really in the grand scheme of things but in the book realm definitely. As some of you dear readers may know, I have a slight obsession with Maureen McCarthy (the author - although I don't really know any other Maureen McCarthy). It's sort of a weird, complex relationship - albeit one sided because although we have fleetingly met and she signed my books I don't think we had enough time to truly connect. But I digress. So I suppose the relationship is between me and her books rather than the person which in all honesty makes more sense because she's an author and I'm reading her books not her duh. But I digress (again!). I think what I've realised I like about her books are not so much the stories per se, but the manner in which she writes them and how they're not the conventional teen reads. I mean they're young adult reads but without being cliched and tacky. Sorry that was harsh. I'm at the point where I just read her books because it's by her and I know it'll be good - not necessarily the plot appeals to me. Although that is not true for her book and indeed one of the earlier one's I read called When You Wake and Find Me Gone.

First published in 2002, it really got me interested in Ireland, Irish history, people, language, food - you know the drill. Anyway, this brings me to the crux of my problem... IT IS NOW OUT OF PRINT!!! Why I never bought it before I'll never know and now it's gone. Especially as it's a Melbournian author, it's never really that easy to get a hold of overseas as well. So it's not available from the distributors, I eBayed it and found *one* copy (please don't buy it I may cry) and none on Gumtree. I'm sure there's a few copies floating around secondhand stores and garage sales but it's so nice. This just goes to show, if you really like something then just go and do/get it. I realise that can be applied to so many things so within reason obviously. She is so underated. But yep, now the quest begins to find my out of print book. 

If there's a book you're umming and ahhring about, maybe it's time to snap it up! Who knows when it'll be the last time it's IN PRINT! I've learned my lesson. Sadly.

In other Maureen McCarthy news, I found this podcast she did concerning her second most recent novel 'The Convent'. It's always fascinating diving into Melbournian history. read it here.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Woohoo!! 150 Facebook Friends!

Thanks everyone who has liked/commented/interacted and shared posts from our Facebook page! It's been an exciting time and a bit of a learning curve if we're honest, to move online! 

And since our initiation into Facebook, we've also started an Instagram account where we can have fun with hashtags (you know you love them)...
We love to see our customers interacting with us on our posts and we'd be thrilled to hear more from you! Hopefully we can have some competitions in the future which would be awesome as well.

If you have any suggestions for us on any of other platforms or even in store we'd love to hear what you think! And keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming website reveal! So much excitement!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Oh Romance Wherefore Art Thou?

It's sort of funny when you think about it that there's sort of a new worry, okay maybe not worry, but consideration shall we say about what on earth will happen to romance in the modern age! And by modern age I mean with technology and social media and whatnot. I mean even e-Harmony seems old now (sorry e-Harmony if you're reading) what with Tinder, Facebook and other sites. Side note - I just read the 'Stories' page on the Tinder website and are these real or what? Do people actually marry from meetings on Tinder?! If you have some time to kill you can read it here. Everyone on that page is really attractive for some reason too. Also in learning the prisoner's dilemma theory in uni our lecturer used Tinder as an example scenario - um, should you swipe right or left to get a better outcome? WHAT IS THE DOMINANT STRATEGY?!?!

But moving on, some people have been thinking so much about this topic that they've decided to write books on it! Romance and love in the modern age. So here goes!

MODERN ROMANCE by Aziz Ansari  

"A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world."

I had the good fortune of reading this one myself and I can say that I did thoroughly enjoy it! It asked some interesting questions and highlighted areas that perhaps are facing a slight battering on some fronts. But it also shares the ways that new romance has been constructed by people with the help of technology and social media. It's not all bad guys! And of course he is hilariously funny too so it's win win really. 

Vanity Fair wrote up an article here.  

And more recently released is:

AVAILABLE by Matteson Perry  

"From a breakout storytelling star at The Moth, a real-life romantic comedy about a guy and a girl—and twenty-nine other girls: a memoir about an unexpected break-up, one self-imposed year of being single, and how a “nice guy” survived dating in the twenty-first century.

Matteson Perry is a Nice Guy. He remembers birthdays, politely averts his eyes on the subway, and enjoys backgammon. A serial monogamist, he’s never asked a stranger out. But when the girl he thought might be The One dumps him, he decides to turn his life around. He comes up with The Plan: 1. Be single for a year. 2. Date a lot of women. 3. Hurt no one’s feelings. He’s not out to get revenge, or to become a pickup artist; he just wants to disrupt his pattern, have some fun, and discover who he is. A quick-witted Everyman, Perry throws himself into the modern world of courtship and digital dating, only to discover that even the best-laid plans won’t necessarily get you laid. Over the course of a year he dated almost thirty different women, including a Swedish tourist, a former high school crush, a born-again virgin, a groupie, an actress, a lesbian, and a biter.

In Available, award-winning storyteller Matteson Perry brings us into the inner sanctum of failed pick-up lines, uncomfortable courtships, awkward texts, and self-discovery, charting the highs and lows of single life and the lessons he learned along the way. Candid, empathetic, and devastatingly funny, Available is the ultimate real-life rom-com about learning to date, finding love, and becoming better at life.

I have not read this book because I only set eyes on it a day or two ago but this definitely looks like something I want to read. And the fact that they used a massive eggplant emoji only makes it more exciting - because I am pretty sure I'm actually a little bit allergic to eggplant. Love, like my allergies, keeps you on your toes. I don't know why because it seems to have only developed relatively recently. But part autobiography, part guide, Available is most likely to have you looking for any available time to read it. Sorry for that.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

When Tim Winton Comes Alive!

The other night (16th of May to be exact), Australian Story on ABC featured former NSW Supreme Court Judge George Palmer. A distinguished judge in his own right, but made even more so as a - okay not really as a judge but as a cool human being - by adapting Tim Winton's classic novel Cloudstreet into an opera. So many hyperlinks. Hyperlinks everywhere.
Click to Watch!

Cloudstreet is not a stranger to adaptation. In 2011 it aired as a tele-drama to great acclaim. But it's an interesting story! A closet composer I suppose who went on for five years working on his baby. It's pretty incredible when you think about it. How do people write entire scores/lyrics/scripts?! The mind boggles. I believe it's currently showing in not Victoria but when it does I am definitely keen to see it. But then, there are so many shows to see...
Click for review in the Australian

'On one level it represents an alarming mismatch with this quintessentially Australian story. Palmer’s music is worlds apart from that of Iain Grandage in his opera The Riders, also based on a Winton novel. That score was strikingly eclectic and contemporary. But Palmer succeeds in providing a musical vehicle for the story and not trying to compete with it. His score is nimble, harmonically inventive and enjoyably melodic.'

Click for review on the ABC

'The glowing reviews come as a relief to Tim Sexton, CEO of the State Opera of South Australia and musical director of Cloudstreet, whose decision to green-light the project was a million-dollar gamble.
"Of all the things I've worked on over the last 38 years, this is the one that I believe has the greatest legs to go on and become something truly fabulous," he said.
Director Gale Edwards, a veteran of Broadway and West End theatre — and a creator of hit musical The Boy from Oz — also thinks Cloudstreet could work in London or New York.'

Tim Winton has been enthralling Australian readers for many years ins tories about ourselves. Pick up one of his books here! Some titles include:
- Breath
- Blueback
- Eyrie

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Traveling Light

Alright I have a confession to make. I have been having a little obsessional time about Ireland. I am adamant to make a trip there in the near future but have currently made absolutely zero plans or bought tickets or anything! People ask me why I want to go and it's because I find the history really very interesting. So varied and distinct! I'm also somewhat intrigued by the language itself - it looks nothing like how it sounds (because it's a different language duh!) and it seems cool to know. So I did borrow a teach yourself book but did not make it paste the pronunciation page. It is definitely challenging.

But I digress, as well as the history the natural landscapes are of course something to behold. AND it also is packed full of the arts and culture with many festivals and literary sights to see. It is pretty darn cool that they have Bloomsday to celebrate James Joyce's novel Ulysses  (yes I have to read that soon). It's just an all round cool place okay! 

But this has led me to start reading all of these travel guides and books which seems a little preemptive but hey, a girl can dream can't she. 

And this has no relation at all to my love of Branson from Downton Abbey... no of course not! Traveling Light is also the name of an Oh Pep! song :)

But why do I say this? Because if you want to be inspired or need a bit of a push to get you started on your next holiday, why not pop in and see where our travel books can take you!