Sunday, 30 August 2009

got you covered

recent conversation in a bookstore

Friendly Young Person [hereafter known as FYP] : that's a nice coat you're wearing

me [hereafter still known as me] : thank you!

FYP : did you make it yourself?

me : yes, and it's dyed with eucalyptus

FYP : there's a book over there that would interest you

me : has it by any chance got a green cover?

FYP : yes

me : is the author possibly India Flint?

FYP : yes

me : that's me

it was a surreal moment. but pleasant withall.

and it was the sort of thing that DOESN'T happen when one is idly browsing Amazon or other net-based purveyors of literature.

i fell into the latter trap a few weeks ago, freshly back from Tasmania and armed with a new reading list thanks to an erudite friend
over-eager to acquire books without the bother of seeking them out.
i found a few
but was also seduced into selecting a few others
pretty covers and cleverly worded paragraphs.

however when they arrived some while later it was a salutary lesson. purchasing books online that are otherwise out of print makes sense as often a pre-loved treasure can be found
but buying things that look promising on the outside isn't always quite so satisfying

nothing is really quite the same as browsing happily through a bookstore
turning a few pages
having an amusing exchange with another patron

and deciding whether the contents of the cover live up to the promises made on the outside.

especially pleasant when the bookshop smells nicely of fresh flowers
beeswax polish
and perhaps a hint of some gentle incense

so i'll try to stick to the real thing in the future
with the exception of things that are out of print

and make regular visits to these bookstores when i'm in the neighbourhood

Matilda Books, Stirling, South Australia

Artisan Books, Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Minerva Books, Cuba Street, Wellington [NZ]

Ariel Books, Oxford Street, Paddington

City Lights in San Francisco, USA

and that splendid store, William Stout Architectural, at 804 Montgomery, San Francisco

meanwhile, for South Australian readers who haven't anything planned for September 3, 2009 and can bear to leave their cosy fire, glass of red and good book for the wilds of the night

i'm telling stories at Mostly Books, Mitcham Square, 119 Belair Road, Torrens Park
at about 7.30pm

if the present weather continues, awards for bravery will be handed to those who turn up....


  1. india flint, storyteller- sound good to me. wish i were there

  2. No sorry i cant be there, will be passing on Wednesday to buy flowers for my mother. Just back from Artisan books in Melbourne, yummy place, thanks for the name of the one in Paddington, may find it when I am there in October. One day I will buy your book but saving to go away. Not a dyer however.

  3. oh how i wish i could be there to hear your stories.....and i so agree with you. one must (i must, anyway) have a tactile experience with books. yes, libraries and bookstores have it over online book stores. also why i cannot imagine reading books on kindle. to hold plastic is not the same thing as holding the BOOK

  4. I just received your wonderful book as an early birthday present from my brother. I am looking forward to snuggling down under some cosy blankets to read it. I think it's officially supposed to be summer here in England but you certainly wouldn't know it. It sounds like we have the same wild weather you have been having.

  5. Wondeful exchange in the bookshop! You describe the delight of these places quite well!

  6. I'm with you--- I love to browse through bookstores-- thumbing through the books--- especially art book stores. I also love to go to author readings. When I visit my son in NYC USA we spend half our time in the museums and galleries and the other half in the art book sections.

  7. You telling story's so faraway?
    I'do wish you write them down like you did in Eco Colour so i also can read them.

  8. Hi, just tripped down the page...nice, interesting blog1 I miss City lights in SF...I'm on the east coast now. -Jayne

  9. thanks Hannah, hope you can find useful things in it
    don't worry Martine, there'll be more in print
    next book scheduled for publication April 2011

  10. storytelling - one of my passions
    there is nothing like the hands on experience with a book
    those "kindles" will never replace the heft and feel of a book within my hands

  11. What a treat of a conversation! A good bookshop is a something to be enjoyed often - when next in Wellington you should add Unity Books to your visiting schedule, that is if you have any cash left once you have torn yourself away from Minerva! It's a wonderful independent bookstore, staffed by poeple who are passionate about books. Can't ask for more than that.

  12. thanks for reminding me of Unity, Philippa...i have indeed acquired several good things from them in the past

    Janet Frame's "Goosebath Poems" being one of them

  13. oops and I forgot to mention The Ferret on Cuba as well...

  14. Ok India...I signed up. In the last 10 minutes of looking thru your work other places, I've become a fan. I appreciate your work, and am kind of surprised I had not heard of your work before now! Looking forward to seeing more. -Jayne

  15. Good wishes for Mitcham tomorrow. I spent my first 18 years just up the hill in the Blackwood area.

    And you're right, online is quick, but I have had several duds too.

  16. looking out for the printed version!

    good luck

  17. You described a perfect author's moment...!
    I'm in a small beach town from SF and we have an abundance of locally owned bookstores...great readings, couches, walls lined in books and coffee and tea...great way to spend hours immersed in book shopping.

  18. Story telling is what u naturally do when u open ur mouth and speak in those low hushed tones. Ur clothes tell stories too. And I for one cannot wait for your next tome. The first one still brings delight everytime I open the pages. It's over a year old, been thumbed through numerous times, been shown off to visitors, been to Brisbane and back, was given away and then returned with love. I love swapping stories myself. This blog is one long adventure with lots and lots of lovely stories.

  19. Oh India i WISH... i could be there to hear your stories,... Ahipara girl is right, your clothes tell stories and you tell a story just by passing by.