I brought just a handful of books to Sydney with me, having promised my Aunty Kate I would invest in an e-reader to ensure that I wouldn’t take up valuable space in my suitcase with great tomes that I had hope to get through during my time in Australia. And so, while I had initially promised myself I wouldn’t buy any books until I had got through those that had travelled all the way from London with me, with said books and my suitcase still MIA, just days after I landed I found myself in something of a book emergency.
Thankfully, my new apartment is located just a short walk from Bondi Beach’s famous Hall Street, where lies arguably the most perfect of fusions between cute coffee shop and characterful bookstore, Gertrude & Alice. Named after American writers Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, the bookstore-cum-coffee shop is as beloved for its famous honey-infued Chai Tea as it is for its collection of both new and second-hand books.
The warmly-lit interior is inviting, the smell of coffee inciting; the books stacked ceiling high. Whether you’re after a specific title, or happy to browse, Gertrude & Alice offers the perfect environment to do so. Every nook and cranny is filled with books, while tables are chairs are dotted throughout, affording their customers a corner in which to curl up and read over a Moroccan Mint Tea, or the perfect place to meet with friends for brunch or a bottle of red of an evening.
My bookshop buy from Gertrude & Alice was AS Byatt’s Possession – in homage to my bookclub in London who are reading and discussing it this month without me – though I can say with absolute certainty it won’t be my last.