Sam van Zweden



city basement books

City Basement Books is BACK!

Back in April, City Basement Books closed down. They had an amazing $1 sale, where I picked up a heap of wonderful things, many of which are still on by TBR pile. They promised to return soon, at a new premises… And they’ve finally pulled through!

On Monday, our beloved City Basement Books will return to a new space, at 342 Flinders St – just around the corner from its original store!

Opening hours will be what they always have been, 10am to 6pm weekdays, 10am to 2pm on Saturdays, Closed on Sundays.

Get down there and celebrate their return! Spoil yourself for Christmas with some cheap well-loved books.

Fare Thee Well, But Be Back Soon!

Today is the last day of City Basement Books’ $1 closing down sale.

I did figure out what the deal is, they are only moving, not closing down entirely, but the move is quite vague. They’re going “somewhere” … “eventually”. So it might be a while before we see these lovely bookish people’s smiling faces.

On Wednesday I went down to the Basement and came out with five books. I wasn’t in a particularly search-y mood, so I picked up a few books that jumped out at me without too much searching.

“Alexander Solzhenitsyn” by Steven Allaback
“Papa Hemingway” by A.E Hotchner
“The Woodpecker Toy Fact” by Carmel Bird
“Collected Stories” by Janette Turner Hospital
“Cherry Ripe” by Carmel Bird

After this, I ran into other people who had been down there after me. And they’d come out with better stuff.

Truly jealous, I decided to go in for a second round. This proved more lucrative:

“Illywhacker” by Peter Carey
“Johnno” by David Malouf
“Automatic Teller” by Carmel Bird
“Seams of Light (Best Antipodean Essays)” by Morag Fraser (ed)
“Summer at Mount Hope” by Rosalie Ham
“Visible Ink 6: Anthology of New Writing”
“Talking Dirty”  by Susan Chenery

…much better!

Really happy with some of the collections of essays I picked up, a few good biographies, some Australian staples that I’ve never got around to, some new work from old favourites… and all that for $12! It’s just too good!

Paper Radio Is Here, As City Basement Books Leaves

Two unrelated things in one post. Why not?

Paper Radio – it’s finally here. It’s been a long time in the making, and the excited chatter around the place has been deafening, so the fact that it launched today is something of a relief. In a great way. It’s all I expected and more!

Paper Radio is an online literary journal of sorts. There’s a FM channel which features fictional writing, and an AM channel which showcases non-fictional work. There are a few familiar names on the list of people behind this literary love-fest – Dion Kagan is familiar to me as the editor of last year’s EWF publication “The Reader”. He’s also hosting a few events for the EWF this year, I believe. Estelle Tang is also on the Editorial Advisory Committee, and she’s the amazing brain behind the utterly bottomless book blog “3000 Books”. So the team behind Paper Radio are strong, assuming those names I’m familiar with are anything to go by.

The website is really sleek, nicely designed with bold colours and collage-like graphics. And it’s not just the visuals that are nicely designed. It’s easy to get around the site, and while the FM channel is the only active thing on there at the moment, with one episode up of a story by Chris Somerville, the player isn’t complicated and the quality of the content is awesome. The reading on the episode that’s up is done by Jon Tjhia (executive producer of Paper Radio), who has an utterly enchanting voice, and the sound design behind the reading isn’t intrusive at all.

Really looking forward to future episodes from Paper Radio!

I’m afraid this post also contains some news that makes me incredibly sad…

City Basement Books, that amazing floor-to-ceiling booklover’s heaven (downstairs, 28 Elizabeth St, CBD), is shutting its doors. At least, at this location. I’ve tried searching for quite a while about what the deal is, but all I can find is that the store is “moving on” – whether this means the store is closing, or just moving premises I’m not sure. Either way this books shop has been one of my favourite places in Melbourne for years now. It’s always been so reliable, to not only have the book you’re looking for, but to have it from different publishers, different editions, with any different covers it may have had… And alwas for a reasonable price, in great condition.

Before they do close their doors or move, (whichever it may be) they are having a massive sale. All books $1 until this Friday, so get down there and pay your respects to the sacred ground at 28 Elizabeth St, Melbourne CBD.

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