I know there are lots of concerns and pressures on people at the moment. The list is longer than my arm. And leg. And other leg. And other arm. I care about all those things and they are affecting my family right now. So know that. Luckily we CAN care about many things at once. Phew.
At this moment I am focusing on something that is important to me – the survival of as many small retailers as possible. I am especially keen to talk about independent bookshops right now.
Can we please keep our independent bookshops alive during this hard time?
If you have an income still and are feeling okay about spending some of it for the greater good, perhaps you could buy a book from your favourite bookshop.
My favourite bookshop is Readings.
When I was super unwell, one of the only places I felt fairly okay about slinking about in was Readings. In those days feeling fairly okay was a BIG DEAL. Those were days of messy hair, crumpled frocks, racing heart, full-body-anxiety-hum and debilitating fear of other people.
Readings has been a tonic to me as I have battled really awful days. There is something about all those books tucked into the shelves, all those stories, all those ideas winding their way back to the creative and determined people who wrote them that administers a giant dose of hope … curiosity … delight.
All good salves during tough times, I’m sure you will agree.
If you are able to buy a book from my favourite bookshop this week, that would be brilliant.
Here are some things I have loved reading and/or suggest … but by all means use your own clever clogs choosiness to nut out your own selection. Of course!!
1/ Modern Nature by Derek Jarman
Join the late, brilliant Derek at his windswept seaside home as he works with/battles the elements to grow a garden and details his days in Dungeness.
2/ Salt On Your Tongue by Charlotte Runcie
I am reading this at the moment and it’s a complete escape. Highly recommended and jam-packed with myths, folk tales, superstition and swirling seas.
3/ My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
This book is about a bohemian family (The Durrells) chaotic and creative and funny life as they go to live in Corfu. Written by grown-up Gerald about young Gerald it’s pure delight. It’s one to read and re-read and you can even read it aloud to older kids. (I love the absolutely unmissable FILM version of this story, but there is also the TV series The Durrells to enjoy).
4 – 8/ One of the classics?
In that same realm, perhaps now is the time to catch up on that book you have always wanted to read? I’m reading Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. You could tuck into Middlemarch or The Haunting of Hill House or The Secret Garden or The Hobbit?
People are saying that my book is helping them feel a bit better right now. So naturally I want you to feel better.
A much-lauded book written by a celebrated young Australian writer. You can read a review here. And listen to a bit more about this book on this episode of one of my favourite podcasts, The Bookshelf.
11/ A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year edited by Jane McMorland-Hunter
I have this book and I read a poem from it every day. Maybe you would like to do that too?
There are lots of independent bookshops all over the world that need your help now. Here are some in Melbourne. Add your own favourites in the comments below. And any book suggestions because WHY NOT?!
Photos via Readings on Instagram.
More ideas on great Australian books to buy at The Stella Prize.