queenscliff02Being Wednesday, I’m already dreaming about the weekend. And a weekend, in my mind, isn’t a weekend until you’ve browsed at least one second-hand bookshop. Nothing beats that mustiness of old paper; the certain staleness of a shop full of books and book lovers; the slightly dishevelled elderly lady or gentleman sitting behind the counter – who, while pleasant and attentive when approached – is, in most cases, absorbed in their own quiet reading or conversing with a similarly dishevelled elderly lady or gentleman.

Here are my top five second-hand bookshops:

Barwon Booksellers, 81 Hesse Street, Queenscliff

The Queenscliff branch of this quality seller is located in the heritage listed former Wesleyan Church on the main street of the picturesque Bellarine town. The creaking polished floorboards and tall shelves create a charming atmosphere; they are also well stocked with Classics (you’ll usually be lucky enough to find a nineteenth century first edition for pittance!).

Brown & Buntings, 237 High Street, Northcote

Newly established on High Street, Brown & Buntings has quickly acquired an excellent selection of second-hand books (there is a particularly good crime shelf). A stone’s throw from Northcote’s cafes, it makes a delightful diversion before having a coffee or meeting friends for brunch.

Grub Street Bookshop, 379 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Something of a stalwart, Grub Street never fails to offer some gems among the rough (and there’ll always be something of interest in the boxes out the front). The Aus-Lit shelves are always groaning with tantalising offerings, and there is also a decent selection of poetry and theatre.

Paradise Bookshop, 46 Vincent Street, Daylesford

The Paradise Bookshop is a multi-level bibliophile’s dream. You can literally spend hours in the various rooms of this quaint building found on Daylesford’s main street. There’s a large room of kids books, too, which is stacked with a vast selection of comics and picture books.

The Searchers Secondhand Shop, 93 Smith Street, Collingwood

Selling both books (including a great selection of art monographs) and old records, The Searchers is a great way to finish a southern stroll up Smith Street.  Even better, if you meander around the corner, you can take your newest (sort of) copy of Borges to the best Spanish tapas place in town: Anada, on Gertrude Street.

What are your favourite second-hand bookshops – in Melbourne and elsewhere?