Diana Lawrenson

— Writer —

Diana Lawrenson Pages to Places Blog

Welcome to my blog that takes you from pages to places. Come and discover some quirky, little-known, or loose-but-relevant links from books to places around the world. You might even like to add a book suggestion of your own to the topic.

30 May 2016 | Australia, Malvern, Victoria


Malvern town Hall, Victoria

Malvern Town Hall

It must be some sort of record, although nobody can quite say, or at least be sure.

Three independent bookshops have existed for decades within a couple of hundred metres of each other in Glenferrie Road, Malvern – a suburb of Melbourne. Three! When doom was forecast for indies following the GFC and the demise of the Borders’ chain, Jeffreys Books, Readings Malvern and Books in Print survived. That says a lot for book lovers in the Malvern area and for reader loyalty.

Glenferrie Road, Malvern is a shopping strip still proclaiming the years of its establishment, the 1880s, on several shop facades. The grand Malvern Town Hall built in 1886 graces one end while at the other Dandenong Road roars past. In between is the Malvern Tram Depot, home for more than a century to trams both loved and cursed by Melburnians, and the three bookshops.

Jeffreys Books is a Malvern institution, namedJeffreys Bookshop, Malvern, Victoria for Carla and Ian Jeffreys who began it. When the shop changed hands and its name several years ago, it became evident the new name wouldn’t do and it reverted to Jeffreys Books. Besides books for adults and children, Jeffreys stocks a range of stationary including a wide variety of cards, and holds book launches from time to time.

The light and airy Books in Print caters for children of all Books in Print bookshop, Malvern, Victoriaages and adults, and generously promotes local authors.

Readings’ niche is film and music. DVDs and CDs sit in the centre of the store between piles of adult books at the entrance and Readings bookshop, Malvern, Victoriachildren’s books at the rear. The Malvern Readings is one of five Readings stores in Melbourne’s metropolitan area – another bookselling success story. The group received the Bookstore of the Year Award at the 2016 London Book Fair International Excellence Awards.

After twenty years in Malvern I moved a few years ago to a suburb of two independent bookshops which again is something unusual – and a joy for readers. But the presence of three in Glenferrie Road, Malvern, is a feast.


A TINY SELECTION OF THE MANY BOOKS I LOVE (in no particular order)

  • The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard (fiction, Japan in the aftermath of WW2)
  • The Sunflower: on the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal
  • Ill Met by Moonlight by W. Stanley Moss (non-fiction, WW2 kidnapping of German general on Crete)
  • Miracles of Life, Shanghai to Shepperton by J.G. Ballard (non-fiction)
  • The Summer Book by Tove Jansson (fiction, Finland)
  • My Life as an Alphabet by Barry Jonsberg (fiction, children, autism)

  1. Thanks for those reading suggestions – always looking for new books to devour. Do you remember when there was a Dymocks in Glenferrie Rd Malvern as well?!

    1. Yes! It’s a wonderfully bookish area.

  2. I have read about Tove Jansson and ‘The Summer Book’ I shall make sure to read it soon.
    It’s great to have a list of books at the end of each post.
    I really enjoy your posts, Diana.

    1. Thanks, Elise. I find soooo many books recommended by so many people it’s impossible to read them all – which is such a shame.

  3. Another really enjoyable post, Diana. While I know that stretch of Glenferrie Road quite well, I’ve never actually thought about the proximity of those bookshops – all thriving. I’d also love to get to your favourite list of books . . . one day. Thanks for sharing.

Would you like to suggest another relevant book to add to the list?

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