There’s nothing more alluring than the scent of old books that have been in the hands of multiple owners. Many people would beg to differ, but if you’re reading this then we’re probably on the same page (pun not intended). And if you asked me what I would do to romanticize a day in my life, book shopping would be on the top of the list.
Recently, I decluttered a lot of my books to prepare for moving/traveling/putting things in storage. And I thought, what better way to reward myself for tackling such a task than to go book shopping. Don’t ask. It makes sense in my brain. So I decided to visit some of the local secondhand bookstores that I like to frequent. Both are located in Yungaburra, QLD, Australia, a small town filled with cafés, small businesses, and a small grocery store. I hadn’t really been book shopping in a while so I was able to justify visiting both in one day.
Spencer & Murphy Booksellers
This is the first bookstore I knew of when I first moved to this area. It’s filled with a little bit of everything. I think it specializes more in nonfiction rather than fiction but it’s an interesting bookstore to browse through. There are sections for every kind of subject. Microgenres are labeled throughout the shop. This time I was looking specifically for short story collections and books on writing fiction. I’ve always wanted to write a short story (apart from ones I wrote as a child) so I thought reading more short stories would help me become familiar with the format.
But upon browsing the nonfiction travel section I came across a book entitled “F. Scott, Ernest and Me” by Tony Davis. It’s about an aspiring writer who travels to Paris to find inspiration to write an outstanding novel like that of Fitzgerald and Hemingway. It sounds like an inspiring book. I’ve never heard of it and I don’t think it’s a very popular book either but it sounds like it’s right up my alley.
I ventured through the fiction section but didn’t really find anything that sparked my interest. There also weren’t many short story books that I could see but there was a dedicated section for them. So I went to find the “books about writing” section and came across a little book called “Becoming A Writer” by Laurel Dumbrell. I skimmed through it and found sections about keeping a journal, the importance of reading, and overcoming blocks to be interesting. It’s short, sweet, and to the point so I think it’s a good book to have on hand for writing inspiration.
This bookstore is unique because it is situated under the owner’s home. I had only seen signs pointing to a “book sale” around town but wasn’t aware that this was an actual bookshop. I thought someone was consistently having a book sale at their house which doesn’t really make much sense now that I think about it. But when I first visited the shop I was impressed. His book collection is expansive and a great place to visit if you’re looking for literally anything or have questions on a particular author or title.
When I first walked in I spotted a collection of short stories by William Faulkner. Only $8 so I quickly grabbed that one. This bookstore isn’t as organized as Spencer & Murphy but you’re still able to work your way around once you get familiar with the arrangement of the shop. I always enjoy visiting this bookstore. You never know what you’ll find. Once I had a browse and didn’t find anything else that interested me at the moment, I decided to pay for my book. But the owner recommended that I read a collection of short stories by W. Somerset Maugham entitled “The World Over”. He also mentioned that his late wife would reread Maugham’s stories. So I thought I’d pick it up as well. At this point I’m taking any short story recommendations. I read a review on Goodreads that said “Reading short stories is like having sneaky little snacks before dinner!” Sounds good to me. I think I’ll end up liking short stories more than I think considering my short attention span.
Books I Bought
- F. Scott, Ernest and Me by Tony Davis
- Becoming A Writer by Laurel Dumbrell
- Selected Short Stories of William Faulkner
- The World Over: The Collected Stories Vol. 1 by W. Somerset Maugham
I hope you enjoyed my bookstore adventure and what I ended up buying. What are some of your favorite books you’ve found at a secondhand bookshop?