The joy of getting wrapped up in a book is second only to the feeling of being totally absorbed by a bookshop. Walls stacked high with our favourite authors, with ideas and stories yet to be uncovered, this is the RUSSH team's idea of heaven. And in a city of plenty, it can be difficult to know where to start. From Berkelouw Bookstore in Paddington to cafe-bookshop hybrids in Avalon, enjoy this love letter from the RUSSH Editors to our favourite Sydney bookstores.
There may be many a Berkelouw, but far few compare to the ingenious curation of Berkelouw Bookstore Paddington. This two store-y gem tucked closely by UNSW’s Cofa Campus, is a gold mine of good reads. It may stock similar titles to other Berkelouw locations, but the key lies in the excellent curation of the staff. It’s a rare moment for me, to wander past the upfront section of new arrivals and staff picks without collecting at least two or three great finds. But when I do, it’s to explore the aisles of beautifully leather bound well loved books that await upstairs. A cosy and quieter tier, the second floor also hosts a small cafe, the perfect spot for huddling up with your new find. You really can’t go past Berkelouw Books in Paddington.
Brand & Campaign Coordinator
If you find yourself lulling about Sydney’s northern beaches for the day, you’d be remiss not to stop in at Bookoccino in Avalon. A cult-classic favourite among the locals, it was one of the first places to burgeon the concept of ‘the bookstore/cafe’ in Sydney a couple of decades ago. It was also one of the first places I ever worked, and the book nerd in me has never fully recovered. In the years since I moved on, the store moved from one side of the road to the other, leaving its hole in the wall, humble shop to occupy a larger premise as the business grew. But don’t let the shiny cement and timber details of the modern architecture make you forget that there’s soul here. This store is still what it has always been - a pal’s place. You’ll find what you’re looking for, and if it isn’t there, the staff will do their very best to get it for you. Spend way too long browsing, or lounge out on the sunny sidewalk and have a coffee. Stay back late for a wine and jazz night. And read, read, read.
As a South Australian new to Sydney, I'm still finding my literary footing. However, Ariel Booksellers in Paddington has become a go-to on my weekly trip for a paperback. I love the vast selection of fiction and abundant coffee-table books to covet – although my modest rental doesn't quite have the space to amass a collection as large as I'm tempted to shop every time I'm in store. The staff are very friendly and welcoming, not shy to strike up a conversation or recommend a book for your next read if you’re stumped on what to indulge in. Oh, and any bookstore that surprises you with a free bookmark slipped inside the pages of your new novel is a great bookstore in my eyes.
Market & Beauty Coordinator
I would be lying if I wasn’t one caught up in the digital haze on a daily basis, but in truth my favourite pastime is getting lost in an old book. Is there anything better than taking in the heady musk of pre-loved pages and worn in leather hardbacks? While there is so much on offer online, nothing beats the wonderful feeling of finding a rare vintage bookshop. In my neck of the woods on the Northside of Sydney there is the wonderful Love Vintage Books, a secret little hideaway in Willoughby. Specialising in secondhand, rare and out of print books including: transport, military, history, travel, art and architecture. It’s here that I like to sneak in some time to hunt for a hard to find gem. Come for the rarities, stay for the kind hospitality.
When I was a kid my auntie would occasionally take me out for day trips to Kinokuniya. She'd let me pick out a book and we'd follow this ritual with lunch at the sushi train underneath. Growing up in Western Sydney, this was a massive treat and the bookstore's size and vast catalogue was not lost on me. Now, as an adult this place still holds much of its magic from when I was younger. Aside from Kinokuniya, I still pine for the old Gould's Book Arcade site but I'm lucky to have some incredible locals, namely The Bookshop in Darlinghurst, which specialises in queer texts, and Potts Point Bookshop. The latter of which regularly holds book club meetings and author's talks.
Now that you've found a new source, why not take on some fresh reading material with these 30 books to read before you turn 30?