Love Letter to A Bookshop : New Zealand Bookshop Day – Saturday 28 October 2017

Bookshops I have loved, lost, and looted : a confession.

Write a love letter to your favourite bookshop

Dear Diary. I can't send this to a Bookshop; I'm cheating on all of them!
I have no control over myself. Wherever I go, I have to see the local bookshop. Where did it all start?

My first love was the Scholastic Book Club. Remember Lucky Books? Making my choices carefully from the brochure, I paid for them with my pocket money. I was so excited to see that pile of new books on my desk. I drove my family nuts with this one:

When I was a kid, Carthew's Bookshop in Feilding was my door into the imagined word. They had the Beano. Carthew's is no longer there, but the building remains.

The Beano Annual

Teen angst took me to Bennett's bookshop in Palmerston North. The city store in Broadway, now Whitcoulls, had an impressive staircase. You could hide away in the quiet of the loft floor, which always had sale tables. Sale tables! Woo!

Dragonflight

Bennetts University Bookshop at Massey Tiritea Campus was the place to get my set texts for English. This bookshop always had lots of neat little extras to look at and buy, like the Little Book of Calm. I've kept almost all of my Uni books...

Katherine Mansfield's Short Stories

Unity Books at the end of Lambton Quay was my Dad's favourite bookshop. A treasure trove. Dad ordered a lot of books from there. Dad loved David Attenborough and Jacques Cousteau and studied religion; making a beeline from the Beehive to visit whenever in Welly.

Adventures of A Young Naturalist

My Father, the Captain

The Wellington bookshop that ignited my passions was the Freedom Shop. In the heady daze of Heavy Metal and Ban the Bypass, the Freedom Shop was our Anarchist oasis; lost in the "progress" that destroyed the charm of upper Cuba Street. 

Moving back to the Manawatu for a bit I flirted with Poppies Bookshop in Feilding and had a co-dependent relationship with Bruce McKenzie Booksellers in Palmerston North. Nestled under Palmerston North City Library in George Street, Bruce McKenzie's stock popular, classic authors, art and wonderful children's books. Bruce supports local authors too, and hosts events! Glass of wine, anyone?

The Town and the City

Since moving to Christchurch I've forged a solid relationship with Scorpio Books and I'm having an online affair with Book Depository.

I love to go to writers' events. I'm like a moth to a flame.

Scorpio are great supporters of literary events such as National Poetry Day. Btw they're hosting the The Great Lit Quiz & Ngaio Marsh Awards on NZ Bookshop Day.

Book Depository sell both new and used books online. And they don't charge postage! A match made in heaven for a book addict.

Last but not least is the thing I have for second hand books. I like nothing better than a good rummage for a bargain. What if I found someone I could treasure?! Whether its the Cat's Protection League, the Hospice Shop, the Salvation Army or St Vincent de Paul, you'll find me in the book section looking for Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, or that Mary Poppins I just can't find for my collection.

Old flames back home are Trash and Treasures, who used to be in Rangitikei Street, and Star Bookshop in Cuba Street, Palmerston North.

Here in Christchurch I've discovered a comforting nest of rare jewels at Smiths, The Tannery Bookshop.

One of the books I treasure most is an old cancelled library copy of Witi Ihimaera 's Tangi. I can still see the pleasure on Witi's face when he signed it for me at an author event in Palmy:

"My first book!" he exclaimed.

Dear bookshops, don't ever change! I love that you take me as I am, and don't judge me by my cover.

Lots of love,
A constant reader.

PS: Thanks to my love for you I've carted eight bookshelves worth of books with me all over New Zealand. My dream is to buy a bus and never pack up those books again.


Tomorrow Saturday 28 October is NZ Bookshop Day. Find out more:

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