There is something very beautiful about a group of people coming together to enjoy good books, design, art, and great coffee. And that is exactly what My Bookshop by Corrie Perkin in Toorak Village is all about. The second bookshop from Corrie Perkin, this newer, larger space is all about community and creativity. While guests can peruse books downstairs, if you head upstairs you’ll find a quiet spot to read or check out the hanging art. Shoppers can also sip on tea and coffee while nibbling on a bite or two from the ground floor café.
We wanted to know more about this creative community space so we spoke to the lady in charge, Corrie Perkin. Here’s what she had to say.
What originally sparked your interest in books and literature and how did that turn into your first My Bookshop by Corrie Perkin?
I can’t recall a time when books weren’t part of my life. They have been my constant companion since I was a small child. I was lucky enough that my first career – journalism – was all about words and telling stories. Then, when the time came to embark upon a second career, books were an obvious focus. I was pragmatic enough to recognise I lacked the talent to write them. And I didn’t have the skills required to publish them. But perhaps I could open a bookstore and create a place that inspired people to read more books, and discover new writers.
What encouraged the opening of the second space?
Quite simply, our dreams outgrew our physical space. We love our Hawksburn shop, which opened in 2009. It is very much based on the traditional bookstore format and has a wonderful bookish and earnest feel. But around 12 months ago we started to wonder: what if you could open a space that allowed more members of the community to come together, share great writing and bold ideas in a big event space, a place that offered coffee and tea while you browsed, and celebrated reading in all its moods.
The Toorak store creates a community where people can congregate, eat, drink coffee, and work. Is this community focus a real passion for you?
It is the driving force behind all we do. Bringing books and people together – that’s what My Bookshop remains committed to achieving.
What do you want My Bookshop by Corrie Perkin Toorak to be for the community?
We want it to be a safe place, a welcoming place, a hub for like-minded bookworms, as well as people who have always been curious about the allure that accompanies a good bookstore. We welcome people of all ages and hope that after each visit, even if they don’t buy a book, our visitors have been stimulated and engaged.
What is your favourite part about this new store?
My favourite time of day is tidying the shelves at the end of every day, and straightening the shop for the next day’s trading. It is a joy to be alone in a bookstore – although you are never alone; all your friends are on the shelves.
What are you reading at the moment? And what book do you always go back to when you need something to read?
I am re-reading Go Set A Watchman, the new Harper Lee book. I read it back in July when it was first released, but the six bookclubs we run in My Bookshop are currently studying it and I have found our members’ comments so insightful I decided to go back again and revisit chapters I’d probably hurried through in my first flush of excitement.
It’s unusual for me to go back to favourite books. But my comfort zone – the books I turn to when I need to relax – are non-fiction, and usually biographies. I guess it’s the journalist in me. True stories are so often more interesting than fictional ones.
Readings, Q&As, and events are in the works for the upstairs section of the space, what can we look forward to? What are you excited about that’s coming up?
We have a wonderful program from now until the end of the year, including food writers Matthew Evans and Annabel Crabb, Heide Art Gallery curators and authors Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan, political commentator and journalist George Megalogenis, and Ramona Barry and Rebecca Jobson, authors of the brilliant new Craft Companion. To name few!
My Bookshop by Corrie Perkin
230 Toorak Road, Toorak
Open: Monday – Saturday 8.30am – 5.30pm
Sunday – 9.30am – 4.00pm