In honour of Love Your Bookshop Day, which is taking place this Saturday, October 9th, we wanted to shine a spotlight on some of our very favourite bookshops. Today, we're featuring Cronulla's much-loved Anna's Shop Around the Corner.
Can you tell us a bit about your bookshop?
Anna’s Shop Around The Corner is different from other bookshops, although I couldn’t love it more. It’s a preloved bookstore, although we do lots of author events and then we do sell their books. We are also a café, a bit like Gertrude and Alice. I opened in 2008 and have loved every second of our bookshop life; we have a beautiful space in Cronulla that I just love, with the best customers around.
What’s the best thing about working in a bookshop?
The books! Obviously!! I just love the access to all the books!! My TBR shelf is completely overflowing!! And I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I also have to say the people who frequent a bookstore like mine is an unanticipated best; the best people love bookshops and I have made so many bookish friends that I would never have met any other way. And oh my goodness I get to talk books for the best part of my days usually, and what is not to love about that!
Apart from your own, which is one of your favourite bookshops?
All of them! I recently read Camino Island, the John Grisham novel and oh my goodness I was SO JEALOUS of the road trip the character does visiting bookshops when he decides to open one! A bookshop crawl is definitely on my post lockdown activity dream-list! I love Beachside Bookshop, my bookshop cousin Libby; I really admire Gertrude and Alice, I would so love to ask Jane Turner to mentor me; and Collins Booksellers in Thirroul!
What does an average day look like for you?
I’m in Sydney’s millionth day of lockdown 2.0 so my average day of reading and knitting, snacking and superstoring is very different to my real life average day! Normally I’m up early and making coffee by 5.30am and my day passes in blissful bookish/coffee-shop activities…lots of Sundays we would have an author event and that is something I am just aching to get back to.
Is there a book you recommend to almost any customer?
I cant think of any off the top of my head, except I think every child should read Wonder and every Australian regardless of whether they are readers or not will love A Fortunate Life..
Do you have a favourite book of all time?
It seems to be whatever book I am reading at the moment…but OMG I could read A Little Life again today, and Anne Of Green Gables or The Time Travellers Wife or One Day…!!
What do you love most about reading?
The all encompassing escape to another life and different pair of shoes. I won’t ever forget when I looked up from The Road and was so relived cows weren’t extinct! I get so much out of reading. I get new ideas and new ways of looking at things, I’ve fought Nazis and discovered radium, I’ve travelled through time, space and lived like a king! I’ve also made so many friends with many different people that I would never have had the opportunity to met if not for books! I am so grateful to be a reader!
Any memorable customers that have stayed with you?
I think we’ve all had the ‘I don’t remember the title, but the cover was blue’ customer, and the one who wants to buy ‘all the Booker winners, especially if they look read… they look great on my shelf..’ but for me the memorable ones are the lovely ones, the new aunt who wants a copy of The Poky Little Puppy, or the man who has been looking for this copy of Mr Gronkle’s Busy Day… so many memories, and I love seeing the friendships that are formed between ourcustomers.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to work in a bookshop?
Go for it! I didn’t, I waitressed instead and I wish I had. I would have loved it! I think it is such a gift, to be able to put the perfect book into the hands of a reader. It’s a wonderful way to work.
What would you be doing if you didn’t run a bookshop?
Probably dreaming about running one! Something boring and uncreative I’m sure…not a day goes past that I don’t thank my lucky stars that I do!