Saturday, July 25, 2015

Books Books Books

Coming from a readerly household, with the hallways forever lined with bookcases and books on a myriad of obscure topics, I have been bestowed with an innate appreciation for the written word and the power of literature. Many of my childhood memories are often associated with reading, and getting lost within the parables and journeys presented within the novels I read. 

Literature is a form of escapism, allowing readers the opportunity to transcend their own lives and assimilate, albeit ephemerally, into the constructed milieu of whichever book they decide to read. I especially love the tangible feeling of a book within my hands, and as such one of my favourite places to visit when I feel like meandering within the city is a book store. 

There are three particularly aesthetically pleasing bookstores that I like to visit, or at least walk past, in the Melbourne city centre.

Embiggen Books
197-203 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000

In a cosy little alcove close to the State Library, Embiggen Books is a warm oasis from the wintry cold we are experiencing at the moment, the large windows letting in natural light and the orangey glow emitted from their lights providing a hospitable warmth for fellow book shop lovers. 

They have a newly acquired coffee machine if you need a coffee fix (seemingly inherent to the Melbourne lifestyle) and their staff are well educated on the books that they stock, unfortunately a rarity in the bookshop scene. They will help you with any questions you have as well as recommend you other books if needed but without pressuring you, which is a relief as I absolutely detest being influenced or pressured into buying things. They hold many books on an array of topics and even provide seating if you need to thumb through the book first before purchasing. 

A smaller bookstore, if you are looking for a particular item it may be good to call beforehand and make sure they have it in stock. I was disappointed when I went in there to find they didn't have either of the books I was looking for at the time. However, overall I am really impressed with Embiggen books and I would recommend visiting it. 

Metropolis Bookshop
Level 3, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street 
Up many breathlessness inducing steps within the Curtin House building, the bookstore is in the middle of Melbourne's metropolis on the busy Swanston Street. I have visited the bookstore many times, as I enjoy their selection of books, they have many Art/Graphic design devoted books and their section of contemporary/good literature near the counter makes finding good books an easy endeavour.  The store workers aren't the friendliest I've ever encountered, but they will help if required to a reasonable extent. They don't allow photography within the store but I took this one outside the doorway.

Paperback Books
60 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000, Victoria
Behold, the stereotypical cluttered bookstore. Up on the Paris end/Parliament side of Bourke street lies Paperback Books, a quaint bookstore with books piled in every direction. I've never bought anything at this store, but I like the look of it from the sidewalk and therefore I decided to contribute it to this collection. The staff there seem to watch from their post at the front of the store, and have an aura of being reluctant to leave their watchmen positions, but that is merely an unverified observation. There are mirrors all over the store, presumably to deter shop lifters, but it made me feel convicted of an offence I hadn't committed. Suits those who prefer a more haphazardly organised bookshop. Definitely worth a visit if you are down that side of the CBD.