Sunday, July 28, 2013

Melbourne Rare Books Week and great service

I went to a fantastic event on Wednesday night for Melbourne Rare Book Week, at Reader's Feast and had a really wonderful time. It was Never Do That To A Book, readings from Anne Fadiman's book Ex Libris.

I arrived early, intending to have a browse and only realised when I got there that the shop might have intended to shut and then re-open. Thank heavens they didn't! It gave me some time to have a lovely browse. The staff at Reader's Feast are always so great, and checked in with me to see if I was there for the event and then left me to it.

The event itself was wonderful, and was introduced by Mary Dalmau, an inspiration to booksellers everywhere. Mary has been involved in Rare Books Week from the beginning, and introduced Zoe Bertram and Roz Hammond, actors who read three essays each from Ex Libris. I have the book, and have read it a number of times, and thought that both women did a great job in bringing the essays to life.

After the readings, Mary spoke again and asked the audience to think about their favourite books, while she asked Zoe and Roz about theirs. That created a lovely atmosphere, and a few people shared their thoughts.

It was a really lovely night, and I look forward to many more events at Reader's Feast. Melbourne Rare Book Week was certainly lots of fun for me, even though I only attended a couple of events - I hope you were able to attend some too! I recommend registering for the mailing list on their website, which you can do here.

As well as being on this mailing list, I am also on many, many others, including international book newsletters. One of those newsletters is from Publishers Weekly, which includes a blog called ShelfTalker, written by children's booksellers. This entry caught my eye, and actually really touched me.

There are a few things happening in the post, but the story of a how a bookseller tried to cheer up a grumpy young girl on holiday with her family really touched me. For many years when I was younger, I was this grumpy teenager, not content to be grumpy myself, but actively trying to bring down others around me. It's not a time in my life that I'm proud of, and I work hard every day to be a completely different person. This bookseller really went above and beyond for this customer - she wasn't just out for a sale, she was really trying to cheer up someone who needed it.

That idea of service is something I really try to exemplify myself, and I just love to see it in others. As well as being an admirable quality, it makes me want to shop at stores staffed by people like this, and tell everyone about them, and come back to shop again and again. If I get the chance, I'd love to drop by the store staffed by this blogger.

Happy reading!

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