Recent Acquisitions

Loads of new stock has hit the shop lately. Ancient History, Modern Firsts, Children’s Collectibles and the usual boxes and boxes of paperbacks. Special mention must be made of the colourfully illustrated Magic Flute adapted from Mozart’s last opera by John Updike and illustrated by Warren Chapman.

We also have an excellent three volume set The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians by Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson. Published in 1878 these are leather bound with gilt titling, raised bands and marbled fore edges and endpapers. All three volumes are beautifully illustrated with both black and white and colour and include fold outs as well.

On the modern first front we have just got Julian by Gore Vidal and Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman.

Other useful and interesting goodies include:

A Song of the English by Rudyard Kipling with illustrations by W. Heath Robinson

The Book in Italy XV and XVI Centuries by William Dana Orcutt (Ltd Ed. 175/700)

Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlinck (1908)

History of Williamstown, From First Settlement to a City 1834-1934 by William Elsum (facsimilie 1985)

Old Nurse’s Book of Rhymes, Jingles and Ditties edited by Charles H. Bennett (facsimilie 1983)

The Three Stanislaus, The Voyagers by Vera Ferra-Mikura (1966)

A pinch and a punch it’s…

Buy Nothing New Month

Buy Nothing New Month! That’s right this October we are challenged to consume less and live more. Re-use, re-purpose and recycle your way towards Christmas and you might just find that it’s a better way to live permanently!

Here’s a few sustainable options in the High Street Northcote area alone:


Dear Gladys



Grandfather’s Axe

Retro Active



Then of course there’s the Northcote and Preston libraries and the op shops and secondhand dealers along High Street Northcote, Thornbury and Preston.


Today Northcote hosts the Melbourne Salami Festa.
Venue: Northcote Town Hall & Civic Square, 189 High St. Northcote
Date: Sunday 15th September 2013
Time: 11am – 5pm

I think there are more people in Northcote today than I have seen since High Noon!


There’s only one bookish thing more exciting than spotting one of your favourite authors on a list of prospective publications and that’s buying it after nine months of expectation. Complete, that is, with wrapper designed by one of your favourite contemporary cover artists. And buying it new! New, when you have a whole bookshop full of books!

I’ve long been an advocate of Zadie Smith, despite her three very popular, but fairly imperfect novels so far. It doesn’t bother me she’s not keen on interviews, I enjoy her style, her humour and the people you get to meet reading her books. NW, her latest, feels quite different though, somehow darker and more serious despite the bright cover designed by the much celebrated Jonathan Gray, a.k.a. Gray 318.

Probably best known for his striking Safran Foer wrappers, his other work is easy to spot among the shelves of homogenous stock photos and gold embossed titling. He’s designed wrappers for Jonathan Letham, Ali Smith, Marina Lewycka and William Boyd among others. Often using hand-crafted lettering or cut-and-paste-like designs that invite reader involvement, his style is bright and interpretive, which seems to suit Smith’s new novel. I think his best work to date would have to be the Nineteen Eighty-Four cover he did for Penguin in 2009. Free from iconic title or famous author for that matter, the classic is instead emblazoned with the slogan that looms larger than the novel itself, enveloped into popular vernacular as Big Brother has been.

Interview with Gray 318, from BBC.

Cover art by Gray 318 and again.

Zadie, Zadie, more, more, more Zadie.

PS. Incidentally Nineteen Eighty-Four is one the the books that people lie most about reading!! Why is this? Maybe because most people were supposed to have read it at school, instead of gazing wistfully at the tree out the window or scribbling daydreams in their binder??

PPS. People need to buy things new sometimes in order for there to be secondhand things :)

PPPS. OK, there are lot’s of exciting bookish things really…


The tale of a worm in love, two spiders at Christmas and some fleas with enormous dreams. These are almost fairy tales, magical fables both written and beautifully illustrated by David Lee Smyth, in an exquisitely bound edition printed on recycled paper and including a recording of each story. Conundrums and conversations to contemplate by the light of the moon and the rustle of leaves, our favourite is a requiem for a smiley ladybird gazing into a droplet of water. The book would make a lovely gift for either adult or child.

David is an artist, musician and actor. Mooseman is the company he runs with his wife Kylie. Together they work on animation, film and art design for CD’s as well as publishing. Inspired by their great working relationship and intrigued by their many pursuits we asked Kylie a few questions about their joint venture:

What are both of your backgrounds?

My background is in theatre, then spending a considerable amount of time in Los Angeles in and around the film industry.

David’s background is in art and creation, whether that be visual, music, performance or story telling.

How long have you collaborated as Mooseman?

Mooseman was created in November 2010. We began it together and continue to do so in partnership.

How long has David been writing?

David has been writing concepts and ideas for projects and characters for approx 15 years, and he just said over my shoulder probably since he was a child, alone is his room playing with his dolls, action figures! he said, so 30 years!
What came first the aesthetic, the ideas for the illustrations or the stories themselves?

The stories came first, back in 2004. David had an old exercise book and wrote for over four months at train stations, on buses, in cafes, where ever his was and whatever came into his head at the time. They were recorded in 2006 and appeared in a conceptual art exhibition in 2008. Feedback on the stories is what began the creation of the first volume of Almost Fairy Tales.

What materials did you work in for these illustrations? And the stories? Note book or computer? What was the writing process?

All the art for the book was done on individual lino prints and printed on recycled paper in our living room. All stories were typed out on an old 1950’s Olympia type writer. Nothing was computer generated. Even the books were printed on recycled paper and handbound. David created the handwriten font for character dilogue and the front cover was done using the old school stencils!

Fairy tales were originally an oral tradition is this why you decided to include the CD?

The CD came before the book as David has many character voices that he felt wanted to tell the stories. One has been made into an animated short, The Teeny Tiny Water Droplet. We have a plan to animate more in the future.

How long did it take to get the book together?

From the original stories, which are all hand written in an old exercise book, to the final book you have in your store took six years! Although once the book was decided upon, all the art and the design took just over a year.

How many more volumes do you expect to create and what else are you keen to publish?

There are sixty short stories to choose from, but some of them will exist alone, maybe as animations, or even short films. I do however see maybe another two to three volumes.

Any advice for the self-publisher or would-be fairy tale writer?

Nike beat us to, just do it! Oh, maybe read them to people you trust and see if they like them. Then save up some money to do exactly what you want, but then be prepared to make adjustments to your ideas to get it done. And there is no shame in starting small.

What new projects do you have planned and what are you two working on at the moment?

The Day the Mouse Died: A very True story


Almost Fairy Tale Volume 1 by David Lee Smyth. Moosman, Australia, 2010. In an edition of 500 this book is a hardcover in white embossed buckram with a companion recording of stories -$50. Take a listen to Spiderwrap and Three Fleas Who Said Please.