Saturday 6 September 2014

Saturday in Melbourne: Serious Penguin Hunting.

Today I found the Mother Lode. I decided it was going to be sunny and 19 degrees (68F) and I was going to have a good look around City Basement Books which is on Flinders Street across the street from the back of Flinders Street Station.  I found it yesterday but only 30 minutes before closing.
This is only about half of City Basement Books in Melbourne on Flinders Street. 

This store was absolutely amazing and only about 5 blocks from my hotel. I spent two hours in this shop finding Penguins I didn't have and because prices weren't very bad I bought everything I could find that I didn't have already.  I crawled around on the carpeted floors and scrounged through the bottom bookshelves.  I kept taking more and more Penguins to the counter for safe keeping before I dove back into the shelves again. I also found several Puffins that were first published. I only looked for first published that I didn't have because you can only keep so many Penguins in a small house without looking like one of those hoarders you see on TV.

More of City Basement Books
As I paid for them (she gave me a discount as well for about 25 of them) she told me about Book House in St Kilda.  I knew there was a second hand store in St Kilda but I didn't find it the other day and as I didn't feel that well went back to my hotel. Well, today I felt much better finally and decided to head out there again with the GPS on my phone and a tram ticket. It takes about 30 minutes to get out there with traffic so not really that bad. Then took me about 30 minutes to walk through a neighbourhood to find it. It is not near all the shops but rather tucked away in a residential neighbourhood.

This shop can be tricky to find but well worth it if you are a Penguin collector. He had other books as well.

I followed the dot on my GPS I had turned into and practised turning up one road and down another to see if my dot got nearer the dot that was the bookstore. It worked.

When I walked in I was blown away by the wall of Penguin books all filed in a particular order to form a decorative wall.  It was really beautiful to a Penguin lover but probably quite impressive even to a non Penguin lover.
The books are behind a perspex in the front and shelves are open at the back. He will sell any in the collection.
The prices were higher than I paid at City Basement store so I decided I would only look for first published Penguins with a number less than 1000.  They would be the priority and I wouldn't even look at the higher end of the series (to save heartbreak).  I found a few that were good finds including a first published Catcher in the Rye.  I have never seen one of those so I was happy.  I had to pay more for it than the others but he did discount the others so I felt I was treated fairly.
These shelves are in the room behind the wall of Penguins.
I then took the tram back to Flinders Station and walked back to the hotel.  I had to meet some friends of mine who came up for the weekend to see the play tomorrow with David Suchet, The Last Confession. We're really looking forward to it.  
From crawling on the floor in City Basement I stood up on the ladder to see the Penguins on the top shelf of Book House.

So as of tonight, 5:00 pm, I have officially stopped looking for and buying Penguin Books or any books for that matter as I did do a bit of that too. When I get home (Tuesday) I will post up the haul over a couple of posts.  I am very happy with this book buying trip and now to save up again for about 5 years maybe? Like they say, "As if".

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