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Monday, 20 February 2017

WA’s Mostly Books








Last week I found out that one of my most favourite ever second hand book stores was closing down. It came as no surprise because the owner, a charming and slightly eccentric English gentleman by the name of Don, is most probably somewhere in the region of 80+ year’s old. When I first visited Mostly Books (as it was called way back then...) back in the 1990’s it was a sight to behold. Book shelves were arranged in a haphazard fashion and there were all kinds of curios and antiques scatted around the shop. Don had a specific ‘head’ section, where you could find Castaneda, Kerouac, Burroughs and all kinds of weird obscurities. There were books piled up everywhere and frankly, it was heaven. The current shop is a smaller version of its earlier incarnation, with Don sat in the very middle up on the second level, surrounded by shelves of books and weird objects. Entering the shop is like finding a nook attached to the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland, and if you are not careful you’ll never find your way out again. Sadly however, it will all be over within a couple of months. All fiction is just $1 and all non fiction half price.

Most people reading this post would not live in the area (Bayswater, Western Australia), or even in the same country, but that doesn’t matter, the important point to consider is that book stores are not just businesses, they are significant cultural hubs that need supporting. Most of the chain book stores have disappeared, but at least many of the small independent shops have hung in there. Go to your local book store, don’t shop online, it’s totally soulless; ‘convenience’ and cheapness are not valid signifiers of a life well lived, or well read. Go talk to and get to know your book store staff, talk to the owner if you can, you’d be surprised what it adds to your life. I’ll never forget Don telling me stories about how during the London Blitz he and his friends would not go to the bomb shelters but instead would go up onto the tops of buildings to watch it all unfold; he said that it was a terrible beauty, but that they never felt scared. Sounds like it would make a great scene in a book...

Here’s a list of books I lugged out of the shop with me, all eighteen of them:

Japanese Short Stories - Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1961)

Masks - Fumiko Enchi (1958)

Helliconia Spring - Brian Aldiss (1982)

Helliconia Summer - Brian Aldiss (1983)

Helliconia Winter - Brian Aldiss (1985)

Imperial Bedrooms - Bret Eastern Ellis (2010)

Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand (1957)

The Martians - Kim Stanley Robinson (1999)

Winsburg, Ohio - Sherwood Anderson (1919)

The Complete Short Stories - Oscar Wilde (1980)

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish - Douglas Adams (1984)

A Spy in the House of Love - Anais Nin (1954)

The Reality Dysfunction - Peter F. Hamilton (1996)

Complete Stories - Flannery O’Connor (1971)

Extro - Alfred Bester (1974)

Thirst for Love - Yukio Mishima (1950)

Tales of Power - Carlos Castaneda (1974)

The Heart Keeper - Francoise Sagan (1968)

2 comments:

  1. What are the opening times?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello! I'm pretty sure he opens Monday-Saturday from 12.30pm - 5pm - something like that...

    ReplyDelete