I have just added a link to the new web site/blog of the Collected Works Poetry and Ideas Bookshop. It's located in Melbourne in the Nicholas Building, on the corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Lane. You go in through the Cathedral Arcade and walk up some steps to the first floor, which is shared between the bookshop and the Victorian Writers' centre. A lot of writers and artists have rooms in the building, on the upper floors. There are two old-fashioned lifts with those double doors you have to close by hand before they will go up.
If you loved the book 84 Charing Cross Road, this is the closest you'll get to that kind of bookshop in the middle of Melbourne. It's the sort of place where you can go and ask for a prose translation of the Iliad and be asked which version you'd like, they have two. I never know what I will walk away with, though I do have my favourite corner, which features the Inklings books and books about them, as well as mediaeval literature and books about it, nineteenth century books, both the well-known ones and some lesser-known books by well-known writers. Who would have thought Edith Nesbit wrote suspense fiction? Or, for that matter, Rudyard Kipling?
I have also bought a copy of Alice B Toklas's cookbook there, a history of drinks in England, some children's classics, poetry... whatever I was in the mood for at the time.
It's run by the personable Kris Hemensley (a poet) and his wife Loretta, a teacher, who have Bloomsday celebrations each year. complete with drinks and homemade Irish soda bread.
There are so many chain bookshops around these days - and,yes, they serve a purpose and I do go to them - but it's nice to find a shop of the old-fashioned kind, a small business, right in the middle of Melbourne.
Go and take a look if you're in town, but be warned - you will almost certainly go out with books under your arm, they're just too good to resist.