Potts Point Bookshop

In this special series, Sydney Writers' Festival speaks with bookshops across Australia about the special place they hold in our bookworm hearts. From recommendations on your next great read to their favourite memories in a bookshop, hear from the people many of us trust the most. 

This edition, we speak to bookseller Anna Low, owner of Potts Point Bookshop

What do you love most about your bookshop? 

There is no single thing I love about my bookshop but it is the alchemy of the books, the customers, the conversations and the joy of discovering a new favourite author.

What purpose do you feel a bookshop serves in the community?  

A bookshop is one of the hubs of a community for connection and information. This has become even more apparent during COVID. We have a stream of people passing by to say hello, check on us and let us know how they are.

What is your favourite moment or memory in a bookshop? 

There have been many memorable moments but one of my favourites was when Andrei Makine wandered in one day. Makine was in Sydney for the Sydney Writers’ Festival and was surprised and overwhelmed to find his books on the shelf. He was a total delight.

What do you get asked about most by customers? 

Customers want to be up to date. They want to know who likes which books and what they should be reading next. Possibly the trickiest question we get asked is “Will my mother/brother/cousin like this?” Which is not always the easiest question to answer.

 

There is no single thing I love about my bookshop but it is the alchemy of the books, the customers, the conversations and the joy of discovering a new favourite author.

What book has made the greatest impact on you? 

Many books have had an impact for different reasons but Life A User’s Manual by Georges Perec was an absolute revelation in my twenties. I am too scared to re-read it, in case it doesn’t live up to my memory of the experience. 

What is the best book you’ve read recently?

You can’t ask a bookseller to choose a single book. Some recent favourites are: Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen, These Precious Days by Ann Patchett, A Dream Life by Clarie Messud, Oh! William by Elizabeth Strout and Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket by Hilma Wolitzer.   

What is the most surprising thing about your job?

Every day is totally unpredictable and you never know what you will be asked next. 

What is your most requested out-of-print book?

Damien Pignolet’s two cookbooks: French Cooking and Salads

What children’s book do you think adults should read? 

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Everyone needs to consider what would be their daemon or spirit animal.