I’m going to try and blog a bit more regularly. It’s a joy to just write what I feel like, without being conscious of angles or pitching or whether the piece is Good Enough.
Today, I want to write about my weekend. I spent it driving around country Victoria visiting beautiful bookshops with my husband, Ben, and Karenlee Thompson – who has written the beautiful short story collection Flame Tip.
I’m from the other side of the city, nestled in the upper regions of the Yarra Valley. We started off at Red Door Books in Lancefield – a gorgeous, welcoming little town. The Red Door had a stunning array of fiction and gardening books, in particular and now has a couple of signed copies of ACHE and IN THE QUIET.
We then popped to Aesop’s Attic bookshop in Kyneton, which has a mix of new and second hand books. I was particularly struck by the range of books for young adults and children – although it stretches well back from the storefront and would have something for everyone.
Our next stop was the The Book Wolf in Maldon. Maldon is a gorgeous town, full of heritage buildings and great shops. The Book Wolf is in new hands – the very capable and warm Mike Smythe. It’s got lots of tasteful gifts as well as a lovely range of fiction and non-fiction. There’s a real sense of community at The Book Wolf, with lots of books on the local environment and local history. The Book Wolf has both new and secondhand books, a cosy collection of plushy chairs and a woodfire heater.
We popped into Paradise Books in Daylesford, which has been one of my favourite bookshops for a very long time, although I’ve only managed to get across town a handful of times for a visit! This shop looks regular enough from the outside, but it’s a bookish wonderland – stretching out into rooms and rooms across two floors and comprising both new and second hand books. The range of secondhand books in particular is pretty breathtaking. Pictured left are the stairs that lead up to the second storey.
Our final stop was New Leaves in Woodend – which is a relatively new addition, owned and managed by the wonderful Woody. There was a huge non-fiction and kid’s section here and the sort of atmosphere that makes you want to curl up in a ball on the wooden floor and stay there forever. A lovely group turned up to drink champagne and hear Karenlee and I in conversation about our newest books, Flame Tip and Ache – which both explorebushfires. The real star was Jupiter the cat, who knocked on the front door of the shop to be let in halfway through our talk.
It’s such a privilege to be able to visit such wonderful shops – the number of times locals came in while we were visiting and the staff greeted them by name was astounding. I was delighted by the pride staff took in their local authors, book clubs and the stunning natural environment north west of Melbourne.
Out the other side of the city feels very different from the Yarra Valley (I know, I know – very obvious. I have a point, I promise!). The landscape is different; the trees and earth and colour of the grass. But around the Macedon area is very similar to the valley, too. Freezing winters and the constant threat of bushfires throughout summer; wineries and the delightful throb of a strong equestrian scene. And a truly magical view of the city at night, cruising in along the calder.
I nearly forgot! Here’s a picture of my weekend’s book haul! Since moving to our Yarra Valley farm and growing most of our own produce, I’ve become increasingly obsessed with preserving. Can’t wait to get stuck into these x