Category Archives: Other stuff

The Bookshops in my Street

Hello from London!

I’ve had a great time frequenting the many bookshops here. I loved the London Review Bookshop with the classy cafe and history titles arranged by time period. I loved the British Library bookshop with its wide ranging collection and Virginia Woolf dolls. (I super regret not buying one.) I loved the multi-storied Foyles with a great set of author events. Most of all I loved the sheer number of shops selling books! And so to narrow it down I thought I’d introduce you to ONLY the bookshops that were on my street.


I don’t know if this quite qualifies but it is definitely the classiest self-help centre ever. Apart from running classes on improving your life (with talks from Germaine Greer among others) they stock a heap of self-help books you wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen reading on the train. But the real reason they make the list is because of the excellently designed How To series they publish by writers and thinkers (such as How to Think More About Sex by Alain de Botton).


Apart from being painted a shade of blue guaranteed to brighten a grey London summer (rainiest in 100 years apparently!) this great shop has a great selection ranging from gay themed fiction, memoirs, non fiction, philosophy and more. Aside from the books and the friendly staff there are also CDs, DVDs and a notice board full of stuff going on in the community.


This little antique bookshop has a very quirky selection. As well as a larger collection of antique typography books than you would think possible, I found a multi-volume Chaucer set next to a pamphlet of greetings sent by famous fingers of the early 1900s.


Skoob is simply amazing. Down in a basement there are literally thousands of books on every subject imaginable – history, literary criticism, philosophy, learning music, art, a whole section of popular penguins, I don’t even know what else. There’s also a functioning upright piano! And plenty of nooks in which to sit and peruse.


While Skoob comes a close second, my favourite bookshop in the street would have to be Judd books. With fiction upstairs and non-fiction in the basement it had an extensive collection, but not so much as to be overwhelming. There are stacks of new books at bargain prices in the centre and a huge range of second hand titles in shelves up to the ceiling. But best of all was their silent policy! No phones, no ipods, talking frowned upon, no rushing. Such a lovely atmosphere to browse in.

So those are the bookshops of Judd Street! I hope you’re enjoying the lovely Sunflower back in Melbourne and I’ll catch you soon with more book related travel news!

Love Fay



Bookshop Crushes

Hello Melbourne peeps! I may be overseas but I am never on holidays (from books). As my patient hubby will attest, I insist on going into pretty much every bookshop we pass and have to persuaded not to fill my bag with books in languages I don’t understand, just because they’re pretty. Anyway I thought I’d share some of the lovely bookshops of Paris with you.

A very homey place in Tolouse

Just near Bastille station… check out that tree thing!

Excellent window stuff

With an appropriate window display

Love the ladders

And, of course, Shakespeare and Co

But none of them are as wonderful as Sunflower Bookshop! Come down and visit, I wish I could. I’m on holidays and I miss work, so that should tell you how cool Sunflower is. (Or how uncool I am.) And, as always, join me on my blog for more book reviewing, travelly goodness and shameless self promotion.

Fay out!

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Hello from not Melbourne!

Hey everyone! This is Fay, checking in. I haven’t died or been arrested or anything, I’ve just stopped checking and updating this blog obsessively. This is probably healthy, as Steven told me. But don’t worry, I’m still obsessively checking and updating mine, and I just posted about some books we (probably) have in stock. (Unfortunately I am not able to monitor Sunflower stock in real time. Otherwise I would probably end up doing a lot less sightseeing.) So if you want to hear my thoughts on The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan and Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam then come on down to (Check it, Ste, I finally figured out how to link!)

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Miles Franklin shortlist!

Comrades!  The shortlist for this year’s Miles Franklin award has been announced and it is full of worthy and delicious books for you to eat read. The titles are below!

Tony Birch – Blood

Anna Funder – All That I Am

Gillian Mears – Foal’s Bread

Frank Moorhouse – Cold Light

Favel Parrett – Past the Shallows

Very exciting and all in stock!  Except for Birch’s, but we’ll be reordering that in toot suite.


Miles Franklin longlist

Oh yeah ASIDE from ToB stuff some less interesting things have happened today in the land of books, most importantly the announcement of the longlist for the Miles Franklin Award for Australian fiction.  Here it is bellow fellas:

Blood – Tony Birch
The Spirit of Progress – Steven Carroll
Spirit House – Mark Dapin
The Precipice – Virginia Duigan
All That I Am – Anna Funder
Sarah Thornhill – Kate Grenville
Five Bells – Gail Jones
Autumn Laing – Alex Miller
Cold Light – Frank Moorhouse
Past the Shallows – Favel Parrett
The Street Sweeper – Elliot Perlman
Animal People – Charlotte Wood

Aaand that’s that.  As you can see Fay’s bffl Elliot Perlman is on there so, you know, good for him.  And everyone else too!  After last year’s controversies on how the judges were sexist pricks the pressure for them not to be this year was PALPABLE.  And so it’s a pretty equal list.  Especially for white people!

And that’s all I have to say about that.  Most of these books we have in stock, the ones that we don’t we can order, call me back when the short list comes out.

Fay: Yay for equality! Though may I remind you that last year’s longlist was pretty even too, the shortlist is where they weed out the ladies. I am personally excited for Favel Parret who has a cool name and had written a completely beautiful first novel that flew kind of under the radar until the indies. And, of course, our Elliot.

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Someone bought it!


Well, as of 10:02 AM today, the last copy of The Sisters Brothers has departed our fair shores.  Alas, I was not here to see it’s departure and interview it’s new owner (it was one hour too soon!) but I can report that it has gone to the home of a loyal Sunflower customer, who damn well better enjoy her new purchase.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen, and congratulations on getting to the end of this historic journey.


The Sisters Brothers LAST COPY Live blog!

1:16 PM – Ok, more than half an hour since my original blog post and still no one has bought it.  Keep reading for up to the minute updates!

1:22 PM – Some looks, I thought, but alas they were only for All That I Am.  And now for lunch, hopefully in half an hour I will have good news for you (me).

2:08 PM – After an unintentionally extended lunch break, I have returned to find it unmoved from before.  Going to try to reposition it so as to make it more visible.

2:27 PM – No results yet, but the day has hit a bit of a lull anyway.  I’m still feeling positive about it.

3:15 PM – Well, three quarters of an hour later and still nothing.  I have a new theory, maybe people (people like you?  WHY HAVEN’T YOU BOUGHT IT?  You know, if you haven’t) think it’s TOO good for them?  And I guess on some level, what are we mere mortals compared to The Sisters Brothers.

3:40 PM – Ok, I am prepared to let the lack of purchase thus far slide, as business is irregularly slow.  You hear that?  Like Robin Williams curing Will Hunting, it’s not your fault.

4:01 PM – Could The Sisters Brothers be considered a children’s book?  It has horsies!  That die.  And a little girl!  Who’s evil.  And a dog!  That is poisoned.  (Those last two being in the dreamlike Intermissions in the book).  I guess what I’m asking is can I recommend it to someone looking for a book for a 10 year old girl?

4:23 PM – Well my conscience is clean – no 10 year olds corrupted – but alas the book remains.

4:49 PM – 11 minutes till closing time.  Will a champion come before then or will I have to continue tomorrow?  KNOW THAT I AM FULLY PREPARED TO

5:00 PM – Well, I’m disappointed.  But I will be here tomorrow and I WILL see this book bought.  And I am NOT buying a second copy for myself.  If you’re reading this and you haven’t read The Sisters Brothers, do yourself (and also me) a favour and come pick it up tomorrow.  It may not be here much longer… Hopefully.


Tournament of Bookcovers

Just a quick one folks! Especially for you Tournament of Book-ers out there. I liked this comparison of American and UK (also the Australian) book covers for ToB. Does it say anything about anything? I don’t know but it sure is pretty!

Update: AAAAAAAAAH Check out the first bracket!!!! 1Q84 is going to SMASH The Last Brother if not on merit then by sheer force of weigh (because it’s long, you guys), The Art of Fielding is going to baseball metaphor Open City, I hope The Sense of an Ending beats that other book I haven’t read because it’s really good. I don’t really have an opinion about the others. I really like State of Wonder but The Sisters Brothers is supposed to be pretty cool too. I think Michael Ondaatje will beat Swamplandia! because, cmon, he’s Michael Ondaatje. And you can’t even get Lightning Rods in Australia.

And also, I am probably completely and utterly wrong about all of this. (Except you definitely can’t get Lightning Rods in Australia.) Check it all out here!

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Thoughts on a Thursday

Hi everyone!

It’s just about time for another exciting issue of our newsletter. I’m always asking for feedback or things you’d like to see in it but I never get any. But here I go again! Seriously, we’d love to hear what you like, dislike, want more of, want less of, in our newsletter.

We’re also going to start a series of author interviews on our blog and we were thinking we’d have a standard set of questions (as well as some author specific ones). We’d love to hear your suggestions! What have you always wanted to know from your authors? How they deal with bad reviews? How do they do the actual writing? What was their favourite childhood book? Please help us find out the things you want to know!

Also I am reading 1Q84 by Murakami and it is loooooonnnnng. I would like some moral support please. How do I deal with the spirit crushing weight (and literal weight) that is a 900 page book with really small writing?? I am in super struggle first world problem town.

What else……. I’m sorry I’m really boring. Steven’s out of town and I’m tired and not funny. He will be very unimpressed when he comes back and sees this. Full disclosure: I probably wouldn’t have even written a post today except that our newsletter is about to come out with links to the blog and I didn’t want people’s first experience to be the train-wreck that was the last Chatz on Sat(urday). Not that this is much better. Actually come to think of it, Steven’s going to be away this Saturday. Does anyone want to do the Chatz with me? All you need is some sort of instant chatting ability and an interest in books! Seriously, otherwise I will be chatting alone and it will be depressing. So, kind volunteers, reply to this post or hit me up at with ATTENTION FAY. Internet fame awaits!

Love Fay

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