What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realised it sooner.” Colette

This is a favourite quote that I’ve been using a lot this week. We’ve been enjoying exploring a pre-dawn Sydney to visit Daisy’s doctor before school.

 It’s an education to see Sydney’s inhabitants waking up.

The homeless people sleeping in train tunnels, fairy-lights in Hyde Park, joggers and office-cleaners.

 I have revisions to do for Poets Cottage and so I’m out of the 1940s where I had just got comfortable and back to a Tasmanian sea-fishing village in the 1930s.

 A great Newtown identity died this week. I’m going to miss Bob Gould.

I had discovered many treasures in his chaotic, messy shop over the last decade or so. As Chuck Mckenzie said on my Facebook, he reminded you at times of an oversized owl glowering away as you searched the huge towers of books. I also saw him as a cantankerous wizard from a Hogwarts library. A most fascinating man. I always found the perfect book for my research in his shops. I’d ask the book angels to guide me and somehow five or six books would find their way to me. Books long out of print, stories penned by ‘ordinary’ Australians giving the most terrific details of everyday life that I could use. Books that these days mightn’t have been published because they aren’t by a celebrity or a proven author. The last time I saw Mr Gould I had a pile of books for the 1940s Blue Mountains mystery book I’m working on. He looked through them, raised those eyebrows and said, ‘You have good taste in literature, young lady.’ I floated down the street afterwards, not just for the rare event of being called a young lady but my inner-geek was sated that Bob Gould said I had good taste in literature. Hats off to you, Bob Gould. With all the hoo-haa recently about publishing and technology, you were a blazing reminder of the magic, beauty and mystery that I love about bookstores and booksellers.

bob gould image source

colette image source

top hats and quote source

9 Responses

  1. pinry May 25, 2011 / 2:02 pm

    hello lovely tp! sorry i haven’t been to visit you for a while. life has been getting in the way of my online entertainment recently. so nice to drop in and be greeted by colette – my absolute favorite writer (apart from you of course!). once again i’m amazed that our obscure cultural interests align!! hope daisy’s treatment is going well, and also your writing work. i often think of your 1940’s artists as i work with mine! take care, jxxx

  2. sleepydwarf May 26, 2011 / 11:17 am

    That Colette quote has resonated a lot with me lately too.

    I’m sorry to hear about Mr Gould. That looks like a wonderful bookshop to get lost in for a couple of hours.

  3. gypsyscarlett May 29, 2011 / 7:41 am

    That is a beautiful quote by Colette.

    And I adore bookstores like that! Luckily, I have one near me. 🙂

  4. Suzy's Vintage Attic May 29, 2011 / 10:37 am

    Hi Josephine

    Such a lovely quote from Colette, I like it! I am sorry to hear about Bob Gould having died. You clearly thought a lot of him, he sounded like a very special and interesting person. You are lucky to have met him. People like that always stay with you…never forgotten.

    Take care
    Isabelle x

  5. josephinetalepeddler May 29, 2011 / 12:37 pm

    Sleepy Dwarf, I could spend hours in a bookstore (and often have). They are the most calming places to browse.
    Thanks GypsyScarlett. I think we all deserve a bookstore like Goulds near. Hope all is well.
    Isabelle, that is so true. His death had quite a lot of media attention here. He was not a man you could easily forget.

  6. sleepydwarf May 29, 2011 / 12:58 pm

    That picture reminds me a lot of the Imperial Bookstore in Hobart, if you’ve ever been there?

  7. Josephine May 30, 2011 / 10:18 am

    Sleepy Dwarf, both my husband and myself LOVE Imperial. I’ve bought quite a few things from there over the years. The prices are quite reasonable as well. And there’s that dear little muffin shop near which does the BEST muffins with raspberries and King Island Cream. Last time I was at Imperial I bought a stack of Ladybird books for my daughter and David picked up a few research books. Goulds is similar to Imperial except three times the size and a little more disorganized! xx

  8. sleepydwarf May 30, 2011 / 1:51 pm

    Gosh! I can’t imagine a place more disorganised than the Imperial!! Goulds sounds wonderful 🙂

  9. The Curious Cat June 8, 2011 / 11:49 am

    Wonderful post! Lots of wisdom and beauty in it…So sorry the old man passed…but it is good to see he touched your life in some small, kind way…xxx

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