Good Reading : December / January 2007
20 goodreading ı DECEMBER 2006/JANUARY 2007 Hobart is a mecca for bibliophiles, the Hay-on-Wye of Australia. Besides several shops selling new books, the city is a veritable larder of second-hand books. In between the shops are delightful wharfside pubs, pavement cafes and restaurants. On any Saturday in the Salamanca market, stalls offer second-hand books at competitive prices – a pleasurable way to shop. But it’s the shops where the real treats are. A convivial association of eight antiquarian and second-hand bookshop owners have collaborated to produce a walking tour map and brochure that takes in all of their shops. The walk starts at Astrolabe in Salamanca Place (pictured above). The bookshop is upstairs in a refitted colonial warehouse and offers a superb view of the Hobart docks area. It specialises in Tasmaniana and in books on maritime subjects, Antarctica, Aborigines and Australiana as well as general books. ‘Many people come to Tasmania on holidays to look up their ancestors,’ says owner Michael Sprod, ‘and our Tasmanian archives are very good for family history and convict history.’ Along Salamanca Place is one of the most inviting bookshops in Hobart. Tucked away in the recesses of another old colonial warehouse, Déjà vu Books offers a cornucopia of delights. It’s a snug little shop with an intimate and Dickensian feel. Joint proprietor Robin Mosley says one of their specialities is books about golf, but of course they stock books on many other subjects, including ceramics, needlecraft, philosophy, New Age and poetry.’ Hobart Bookshop nestles in Salamanca Square among coffee shops, restaurants and craft shops. This bookshop stocks new and second-hand books. It’s one of the prime sites for book launches in the city. A short stroll up Kelly’s Steps (named after a sea captain) beside the Peacock Theatre takes you along Kelly Street to Battery Point. Turn right into Hampden Road for Kookaburra Books, the fourth shop on our ‘book walk’. Kookabur ra’s speci quarian books, books with fine bindings and children’s literature. A short stroll to Sandy Bay Road will lead you to Rapid Eye Books. Specialising in art, sailing, poetry and military books, among others, Rapid Eye is a place to dawdle before heading up to Bathurst Street and two very different bookshops, each a treat. Bathurst Street Antiques Centre houses Bathurst Books, which has an emphasis on natural history, military, religious, literary and children’s books, plus Tasmaniana and Australiana. Olde Musick and Cokery Books is near Bar rack Street. Set in a late 1890s house, it car ries speciality cookery books, from the 18th century onwards, sheet music and theatrical ephemera. And no, those aren’t mistakes in the shop’s name; that’s how the words used to be spelled. Walk along Bathurst Street then down Murray Street into the centre of Hobart. The final bookshop, the Imperial Bookshop in the Imperial Arcade off Collins Street, is cluttered and crowded but welcoming. It has over 20,000 books in stock. Specialities are angling, Antarctica, Australiana, automotive, rail- ways and shipping titles. Owner Ian Beveridge believes the Hobart book walk offers something unique for the browser and collector: er serious book walk in Australia. People do it and tell us it’s a mar- vellous experience.’ The brochure, with map, is avail- ble from all the hops, and from ourism offices. fully booked take a book walk around Hobart Telephone contacts ASTROLABE BOOKSELLERS (03) 6223 8644 BATHURST BOOKS (03) 6236 9422 DÉJÀ VU BOOKS (03) 6223 4766 HOBART BOOKSHOP (03) 6223 1803 IMPERIAL BOOKSHOP (03) 6223 1663 KOOKABURRA BOOKS (03) 6223 1019 OLDE MUSICK AND COKERY BOOKS (03) 6231 0803 RAPID EYE BOOKS (03) 6223 2400 For the book-loving traveller, not only does Hobart offer some of the quaintest and most individual second-hand bookshops in the country, but they’re all within easy walking distance of each other. Come and stroll around Tasmania’s capital with CHRISTOPHER BANTICK as your guide.