Last year, Jo at the Book Skeptic visited a new-to-her bookshop each month. I very much enjoyed these posts (and the vicarious book-buying!). While I doubt that I will have twelve new-to-me bookshops to profile this year, I’m following Jo’s lead and will share the treasures I come across.
The first is The Bookshop at Queenscliff.
I recently spent a couple of days at the seaside town of Queenscliff. My son, who wants to be a marine biologist, was doing an aquatic science camp at the Marine & Freshwater Discovery Centre at Swan Bay. While he was snorkelling, canoeing, out with fisheries officers, and visiting mussel hatcheries, I spent time at the beach and visited the bookshop.
The Bookshop at Queenscliff is minimalist in design – bright, airy, and uncluttered, the shop has a tightly curated offering (clearly they know their clientele). Although there was a designated section for children’s books, the rest of the shop wasn’t organised in the standard way (i.e. shelves devoted to particular categories). Instead, fiction and non-fiction were mixed, displayed on large tables and roomy shelves. New releases sat alongside older publications, and while it wasn’t obvious why some books were next to others, the display was cohesive – which enhanced the browsing!
I made two purchases – Shell by Kristina Olsson (on the strength of Lisa at ANZ LitLovers review) and a book I’d never seen before – Hannah’s Dress: Berlin 1904-2014 by Pascale Hugues (having just returned from Berlin, this book had my name all over it).
I had a lovely Stella-Prize-longlist-speculation discussion with owner of the shop. We agreed that The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper will be there. He thought that The Biographer’s Lover by Ruby J Murray had been sorely overlooked by critics and hoped that it would make the list (check out the review at ANZ LitLovers), and I recommended he read Staying by Jessie Cole.
Unrelated to the Bookshop, the pic below is of an Elephant Snail (the kids doing the aquatic science course took their parents on an evening rockpool ramble to show off their identification skills). The snail was strangely soft but had a powerful suction. I recommend holding one if you ever get the opportunity (remembering to put it back exactly where you found it!).