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5 neighbourhood book shops to know

In this time of retreat we’re slowing the pace of life, switching from digital to analogue and pursuing hard copy pleasures. Source your next read from these five local book sellers to ensure your couch confinement is well spent.

Berkelouw, 19 Oxford Street, Paddington

This family-owned business opened on Oxford street in 1994. Manager Melanie Prosser shares the philosophy behind the books and the business.

We offer a personalised experience. All our booksellers are well read and know their stuff! We like to give people a feeling of welcome and belonging, a real community.

Our customers are from all walks of life and a range of ages. Anyone who loves books and unique gifts.

Books are … A journey into another world. Best sellers this month include…

  • Mirror and Light by Hilary Mantel;
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo; Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens;
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney;
  • Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Favourite read of 2020 Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson. It’s a must read!

We are open for business and are also offering a curated book service – we will choose a selection of books for you based on information given. These can then be collected from the store, or posted or collected by a courier on the GoFetch app.

Reads for self-isolating

  • For Kids: I Just Ate My Friend by Heidi McKinnon; A Mouse Called Julian by Joe Stanton-Todd; The Ear-Piret Raud Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
  • For Teens: Children of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi; Scythe by Neal Shusterman; The Eye Of Minds by James Dashner Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend; Malamander by Thomas Taylor.
  • For Adults: Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson; French Exit by Patrick DeWitt; The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern; If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura; Allegra In Three Parts by Suzanne Daniel


Ariel Booksellers, 98 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Ariel has operated at this location for three years, and occupied a Paddinghurst corner location for three decades prior. Owned and run by Julia and Jane Banks, the store is managed by Paul Jones, whose views and reviews are aired here:

Ariel is the opposite of the classic stuffy old independent bookseller. Ariel’s ambience and curation is designed to make everyone feel welcome and intrigued. We offer quality books in an unpretentious way.

We attract a lot of local designers and architects, people from all levels of public service, the local hospitality workers, a fair base of the LGBTQ community, and plenty of students and commuters.

Books are … essential for a good life. Best sellers this month include

  • Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror & the Light,
  • Aravind Adiga’s Amnesty, and
  • Kiley Reid’s Such A Fun Age.

Favourite read of 2020? In fiction, Jenny Offill’s Weather warranted an instant re-read and will be hard to beat for all of 2020. Non-fiction knock-your-socks-off read…Blueberries by the very clever Ellena Savage.

We are delivering free at the moment because some people can’t get out.

Two recent smart, absorbing, escapist novels are…

  • The Secrets We Keep by Lara Prescott, and Emma Jane Unsworth’s Adults.
  • Going Dark-the Secret Social Lives of Extremists is engrossing new non-fiction.

Every young kid should have the new Shinsuke Yoshitake book

Why Do I Feel Like This? thrust into their hand. Similarly, most teens will enjoy The Surprising Power Of A Good Dumpling by Wai Chim. www.arielbooks.com.au

The Architects Bookshop, 499 Crown Street, Surry Hills

Opened by architect Adam Haddow in 2018, his passion and curiosity drives the store catalogue and supports the architectural community.

I was completely devastated when Architext, the Institute of Architects’ bookshop located at Tusculum closed. It was like part of our community had died. I was walking home from work one day on my usual Surry Hills to Redfern trail and there was this most wonderful shop – empty.  I rang my husband and told him we were opening a bookshop! We signed the lease the next day and opened for trading four weeks later.

Crown Street is the unofficial epicentre of architecture in Sydney – you can’t swing a cat in Surry Hills without hitting an architect! It also has the added benefit of passing foot traffic – people wandering and exploring the city. The combination of access to a dedicated community and a robust and ever-changing visitor community is what makes it so special.

We’re dedicated to celebrating design and the impact that it can have on the way we live. We stock books on Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture & Urban Design. Even as a committed architect you can come into our shop and be introduced to something new. We are always scouring the world looking for unique publications, projects and monographs on emerging architects.

We also like to champion Australian architects and promote them on the world stage.

We like to think of ourselves as a resource – a place people can learn about the built environment and connect with like- minded people. For now, we are planning some online lectures and talks, to help relieve some of the boredom and help reconnect people! Books are … Freedom.

How amazing it is to be able to retreat into your imagination and see new things? This month we hosted the publishers of AMAG from Portugal. They came for a talk and a book launch on the work of Francis Kere from Burkina Faso. Kere won the Aga Kahn award for architecture in 2004 for the Gando Primary School in Burkina Faso and was the architect for the Serpentine Pavilion in London in 2017. His work is incredibly local, textural, and innovative. The book on him has been selling well this month. Books on our own Pritzker Prize winning architect, Glenn Murcutt, always sell well. Whenever we get a shipment they tend to sell out within a few days.

My favourite title for 2020 is one on Sydney Architect Angelo Candalepas. It is a monograph on a Mosque he completed in inner Sydney. It is published by a fantastic Australian publisher, URO, and is full of amazing drawings and photographs. It is truly beautiful!

We have a load of great children’s books. One I love at the moment is a pop-up book on Frank Lloyd Wright called Meet the Architect – it balances content and beauty.

To keep adults informed and entertained during isolation I would recommend Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe – it is an insightful and eye-opening look at the architecture and structures of Aboriginal Australia. It has been written by painstakingly pulling together accounts of the Continent and Aboriginal Australia from writings of the first European Explorers. Truly magnificent. From an architectural perspective I would read Affordable Housing in New York, a great book on the history and provision of housing across the decades in NYC. It is a timely publication when we are thinking about the future of our city and how to take care of those who are most vulnerable.

You can review and buy books on our website, and we deliver! www.thearchitectsbookshop.com.au

Oscar & Friends, Shop 35/277 Crown Street, Surry Hills

The store doors are closed for the moment however this much-loved community book seller is offering free home delivery to those within the vicinity of their Surry Hills and Double Bay stores. Purchases can be processed over the phone and delivered to your door within 48 hours.  oscarandfriends.com.au

Published Art, Shop 2, 38-50 Mary, Surry Hills

Owned by architect Julian Brenchley and run by his wife Rebekah Lawson Published Art’s selection draws from the best international publishers of Design, Architecture, Art, Fashion, Typography and Photography books, as well as a smattering of children’s books that are art and design related.

Customers benefit most by periodic visits. Like the shop, the website is updated frequently. If you add yourself to our mailing list you will be advised by email about new publications relevant to your interests. publishedart.com.au

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