Category Archives: Events

Mostly Books turns 41!

On Thursday, November 8, we threw ourselves a birthday party to commemorate 41 years of business. We were joined by more than 70 loyal customers, trade representatives and past and present staff to share a toast to independent bookselling. Surviving for over 40 years in any industry is an achievement and we are proud to remain Adelaide’s oldest independent bookshop. Thank you to all those who attended, as well as the maker of our beautiful cake Mim Gollan of Four Seeds – it was the star of the show!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local author and long-time customer, Carol Lefevre, was kind enough to say a few words to mark the occasion and we have included the full text of her speech below.

Carol Lefevre’s birthday speech

In a time when things can change in a flash, it is wonderful to think that Mostly Books has endured in our midst for forty-one years, and this through one of the most volatile periods in the history of publishing and book selling.

The business was founded in 1977 by Jacqueline Cookes, and bought by the current owner, Charmaine Power, in 2008, the same year I moved to Unley.

But that year, as well as Mostly Books, there was a book shop in Unley Shopping Centre. And later there was a second hand bookshop on the corner of Arthur Street and Unley Road. Going further back, when I returned to live in Adelaide at the start of 2005 there were many more books shops in the city – Borders, Angus and Robertson, Mary Martin’s in Rundle Street. You probably know of others.

Slowly but surely, with the rise of the internet, eBooks, and massive online stores like Amazon, these lovely stores closed their doors. Technology can do this, promise to lead us towards the light, and we are swept along. But at some point we look back, and that’s when we see that familiar lights have gone out, that the places we knew have gone dark. For a while it seemed inevitable that we would lose all our book shops, and I remember feeling very gloomy for the future of paper books around that time.

There is a quote I often return to by the English writer and critic G.K. Chesterton.

The way to love anything is to realise that it might be lost.

While I have never needed to be reminded to love books, that quote does make me think about the things that gradually slip away – because we’re busy, we’re tired, we’re stressed – and a little while ago I started to make a list of the things that have vanished in my own life time, everything from milk bottles and milkmen, to dip pens, blotters, cursive handwriting, typewriters, vinyl records, steam trains, outside bathrooms and dunnys (no real loss, you might say). But the suburban delis that were once on so many street corners – I really miss those. Then, one and two cent coins, dollar notes, petrol stations where someone pumps the petrol and checks under the bonnet, reel to reel tape recorders, cassette tapes, sixpences, bonfire night, with skyrockets and sparklers, slide evenings, department stores with lift attendants who recite the contents of each floor, and so much more.

And then there is the endangered list – public telephone boxes, suburban letterboxes, handwritten letters, possibly even the entire postal system, including stationery and beautiful stamps, postmen, and the joy of finding a personal letter in the letterbox.

I read recently a list of endangered, or at least fast-declining professions, and these included things like photographic processors, and travel agents. Libraries, too have been struggling in many places.

Buddhist philosophy teaches that the way to face change and impermanence is by developing non-attachment. But while I have successfully achieved detachment towards milk bottles and vinyl records, and even to the extraordinary sight of an ice-man sprinting up the drive to deliver a block of ice for our old wooden cooling chest (and that was a very long time ago) I will struggle long to relinquish the joy of receiving a handwritten letter, or of being able to browse in a real bookshop.

For like letters, books put us into an intimate conversation with the writer, and this conversation can extend across time and space, so that I can pick up the diaries of Virginia Woolf and hear her speak to me, as sharp, as engaging, as fully alive, as the morning or evening  she sat down to write.

Just as the whole of a letter is greater than the words on paper, a book is more than the sum of its materials, and carries a meaning that springs from the heart of the writer. Once you accept that books are a special way of speaking, the next thing to consider is what will be lost if they should ever entirely disappear.

I remember a night when there was a great storm here in Adelaide and the trees in the street thrashed wildly until, inevitably, the electricity went off. With all the usual distractions suddenly unavailable, we lit candles and gathered together in one room, and we read aloud to pass the time. The children still remember what a great night it was, and for a long time afterwards I considered organising simulated blackouts, so that we could do it all over again.

Bookshops have always been a particular source of hope and inspiration for writers. Sometimes I pop in to Mostly Books to see what’s fresh off the press, to check on what other writers have been beavering away at while I have been busy with my own work. Sometimes I come to order a book, at other times I am hoping to stumble across something I haven’t heard of yet but that I will read and absolutely love. If I am struggling with my own writing I sometimes need to come in and visualise where my own book will be shelved when it’s finished, and this sends me back to my work with greater determination and purpose.

A long time ago now, I moved to an island that only one book shop, and I didn’t discover this until I had arrived. It was small, not very well stocked, and situated at the opposite end of the island to where I lived, so each visit required an expedition.

The island’s libraries weren’t well stocked either, and for a long time I suffered for a lack of books. Eventually, a branch of the book chain Ottakers opened: two floors of books and a coffee shop! I wept for joy the first time I went in!  I was a beginning writer then, and in my lunch hours I would walk to Ottakers to work my way along a shelf reading all the first lines, all the first paragraphs, or all the first pages. I bought many books there, but I also used the shop a bit like a library, and the staff never complained. Because that’s another thing about book shops – the people who are drawn to work in them are usually extra special human beings.

And so it is with Mostly Books, and I’m incredibly happy to be still sourcing my books here ten years after first crossing the threshold. My own books have been on the shelves. My latest book The Happiness Glass is on the New Releases table now, which is a special joy.  I hope Mostly Books continues to flourish, and I know that it will, as long as we readers continue to choose and read real paper books sold to us by really lovely, knowledgeable book sellers.

So Happy Birthday Mostly Books! And thank you.

Meet Margaret Young

Margaret Young with her daughters Marnie Watts and Cath McGee in the Eastern Courier Messenger.
Margaret Young with her daughters Marnie Watts and Cath McGee in the Eastern Courier Messenger.

We’re delighted to announce that local author Margaret Young will be visiting Mostly Books on Wednesday 6 May from 6:00 pm.

Anna McGahan as Olive Haynes in 'Anzac Girls'.
Anna McGahan as Olive Haynes in ‘Anzac Girls’.

Margaret’s mother, Olive Haynes, was an Australian nurse in World War One. Her story is featured in the ABC TV series Anzac Girls.

Margaret received her mother’s diaries and letters from her father following Olive’s death in 1978. She compiled and edited them for publication in 1991, choosing the title ‘We Are Here, Too‘ to highlight Olive’s frustration that public attention was always on ‘our boys’, while ‘our girls’ were all but ignored.

Since editing and publishing her mother’s letters, Margaret has continued to advocate for greater recognition of our WWI nurses’ dedication and bravery. She republished ‘We Are Here, Too‘ last year to coincide with the release of Anzac Girls.

Join us for a cuppa (or a glass of wine) and hear first hand the inspiring stories of these two women.

This event is free, but RSVP is essential. Please email or phone (8373 5190) Mostly Books, or fill in the form below, by Tuesday April 28 at the latest.

Feel free to join our event on Facebook as well.

An Evening with Beccy Cole

We’re thrilled to announce that Beccy Cole will be at Mostly Books to celebrate the release of her new memoir, Poster Girl, on Thursday 16 April from 6:30 pm.

Beccy ColeDon’t miss this opportunity to meet one of Australia’s best loved country singer-songwriters in the intimate surrounds of her local bookshop.

From busking with Kasey Chambers as a teenager to performing for Australian troops in the Middle East, from marriage and motherhood to coming out and finding love, via too many music awards to count, Poster Girl charts Beccy Cole’s inspiring personal journey.

Tea, coffee and wine will be provided.

This event is free, but RSVP is essential. Please email or phone (8373 5190) Mostly Books, or fill in the form below, by Friday 10 April at the latest.

If you are young, hip and/or tech-savvy, you may also RSVP on Facebook.

Breaking Beauty: A Reading

In January last year, Lynette Washington, a short story writer and Ph.D candidate at Adelaide Uni, called on writers from the university’s postgraduate Creative Writing program to submit for an anthology of short fiction. Apart from a 3000-word limit, the only requirement was that the stories address the idea of ‘beauty’.

‘Immediately it struck us as a theme that would work,’ she told a small audience at Mostly Books last Wednesday night.

(Photo by Gay Lynch)
Photo by Gay Lynch.

At first, she said, she lay awake worrying that her inbox would be flooded with conventionally ‘beautiful’ stories, well-written but uninteresting.

‘Then the first submissions started coming in, and I realised I was an idiot.’

Just as I had hoped, the writers took the theme of beauty and cracked it open, looking at the underside of the idea and the fact that beauty cannot exist without its companion and alter ego – ugliness.

Lynette gave us a glimpse into the process of assembling and editing the anthology. Then, after recommending a couple of her favourite stories from authors who were not in attendance – among them, Amy T. Matthews’ ‘This is the Body of Wonderful Jones’ and Katherine Arguile’s ‘Wabi Sabi’ – she introduced the evening’s first reader: Gillian Britton, whose story ‘Beautiful Girl’ follows an recently remarried architect through a single morning, when her struggle to hold her family together comes to a head.

She turns away. Stares out of the vast, horribly expensive triple-glazed windows that run the length of the passage opposite the kids’ bedrooms. Last night she’d stared out in exactly the same way and seen a mother fox and its litter standing motionless in the field, illuminated by the full moon. She would like to tell Tom this. She would like not to be having this endless wrangle over Lucy.

Gillian Britton reads from 'Beautiful Girl'.
Gillian Britton reads from ‘Beautiful Girl’.

Rosemary Jackson followed with the blackly humorous ‘Athina and the Sixty Nine Calorie Burn’, a story told through the blog posts of an anorexic high school student, as well as from the perspective of the middle-aged man who becomes her lover and enabler.

I’ve found this really cool website for pro-ana’s. Which is what I’ve decided I am. They’ve got pretend names and stuff because if you’re seriously pro-ana your parents and teachers start giving you shit. There’s lots of cool ideas for fooling people like having bits of carrot and celery and shit and kind of nibbling them all day so people think you’re eating all the time BUT there’s hardly any calories and then people stop hassling you.

Because we Gotta Stay Strong! And these chicks are all really supportive of each other, so that’s what we’re gonna do here. MWAAH!

Rosemary Jackson reads from 'Athina and the Sixty Nine Calorie Burn'.
Rosemary Jackson reads from ‘Athina and the Sixty Nine Calorie Burn’.

Our three presenters formed an impromptu panel to answer questions about short fiction, Creative Writing degrees and the ideas behind their respective stories. ‘Beautiful Girl’, said Gillian, had begun with the image of the fox – something that she had seen and been compelled to use – while Rosemary had been writing partly to explore the dynamic of relationships between older men and younger women, which intrigued her.

Breaking Beauty coverBetween glasses of wine and cups of tea, we even managed to sell a few copies of the book.

I wish Lynette all the best with her future editorial projects, and look forward to the day when I can hand-sell a collection of her own stories. Perhaps when the Ph.D. is done?

Breaking Beauty is published by Midnight Sun and is available from Mostly Books for $24.99.

Inside Story Event

We’re greatly looking forward to our upcoming event in conjunction with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, ‘Inside Story’. From 1pm on November the 1st, we’ll be listening to local authors and illustrators talking about their craft and signing books. Come and hear from your favourite author or discover a new illustrator!

Light snacks and prizes will be offered on the day. It is definitely not one to miss! This is a free event, although we do ask that you RSVP via phone, email or Facebook for catering purposes.

Inside Story Flyer-page-0

Jane Austen’s Sweethearts – The Card Game

We’re delighted to announce a new card game based on the works of Jane Austen, to be launched at Mostly Books on Sunday July 20 at 2:00 pm.

Joan TingJoan Ting, a lifetime lover of Austen’s work, first created Jane Austen’s Sweethearts as an activity for members of the Jane Austen Society of Adelaide, who encouraged her to develop it further. After two years of testing and refinement, the game is finally ready for public release.

The game will will be launched by Gillian Dooley, Special Collections Librarian and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Flinders University. Gillian has published and presented widely on various literary topics, including essays and articles on Jane Austen, often with a particular emphasis on music. As a singer,  she has performed music from Jane Austen’s era in both Australia and the UK.

The Jane Austen’s Sweethearts website will also go live on July 20.

All are welcome. For catering purposes, please RSVP to mostlybooks@internode.on.net, or using the form below:

An Evening with Liz Harfull

Liz Harfull

We’re delighted that Liz Harfull, Australian rural food/literary journalist extraordinaire, will be visiting us again on Thursday June 19 at 6:00 pm.

Australian-Blue-Ribbon-Cookbook-cover-low-resThe last time we saw Liz was two years ago when she released her biography of eight Australian women who run their own farms, Women of the LandIn the meantime, she’s travelled the country in search of prizewinning recipes for her second Blue Ribbon Cookbook.

If you’ve ever entered any homemade food in the Royal Show (or even thought about it), now’s your time to get some tips and inspiration. Come chat with Liz and get your copies of her books signed. Aspiring journalists, this event is for you as well.

RSVP below, and on the Facebook page.

Meet Susanne Hampton

Susanne HamptonWe’d like to introduce Adelaide’s newest romance writer, Susanne Hampton, whose debut novel will be launched at Mostly Books in March.

Unlocking the Doctor’s Heart will be published simultaneously in Australia, the US and the UK – not bad at all for first novel. Susanne has landed a four-book contract with Harlequin Mills & Boon as a writer for their Medical Romance series. Her second book, Back in Her Husband’s Arms, is slated for release in June, so if you like the first one, you won’t have long to wait.

Unlocking the Doctor's Heart Australian

You’re invited to join us at 6:30 pm on Friday March 7 to meet Susanne and help celebrate the launch of Unlocking the Doctor’s Heart. Entry is free but bookings are essential. Please RSVP using the form below, and let us know you’re coming on the Facebook page. Should be a great night – and, of course, a perfect way to top off six days spent lazing in the sun at Writers’ Week. See you there!

Meet Susan Duncan

Following the success of our events at Ginger’s Coffee Studio with Hannah Kent and Anna Goldsworthy, we’re gearing up for our final literary evening of the year.

Susan Duncan

Join us at 7:00 pm on Monday October 21 to meet Susan Duncan, author of The House at Salvation CreekThe Briny Cafe and, most recently, Gone Fishing.

Susan has had a twenty-five year career spanning newspaper, radio and magazines, including as editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly and New Idea.

We’ve brought the ticket price down to $25 a head. Food is included, drinks are available for purchase.

RSVP below (and on Facebook, if you’re a hip social media kind of person), then pick up your tickets from the shop.

Hope to see you there for what should be a great night!

Meet Danyse Crotti Next Thursday Night

Alkaline AliveThere’s still room for more people at our event with Danyse Crotti this coming Thursday evening, September 5, 6:30 pm in store.

Danyse will be discussing her approach to healthy eating, and signing copies of her recipe book, Alkaline Alive. She will be happy to answer any questions you have about alkaline food. Herbal teas and nibbles will be provided.

You can download our poster for the event here.

There’s no cost, but we’d love you to RSVP below (and also on our Facebook page, if you’re feeling enthusiastic.)