Contributing to Community

Serving others, community building and the positive value of belonging.

"We are 6th generation booksellers, having grown up with Dad working in the bookshop down the garden path behind our home. Our childhood was surrounded by a community of diverse book collectors and dealers, authors, and the general reading public who were ever present within our family life. Like osmosis these many characters with often opposing viewpoints influenced our boyhood adventures and inspired us to ensure that a robust community must sit at the heart of each of our 20 bookshops.

Having spent a life surrounded by books, we have seen how serendipity, and human connections can come from discovering new ideas through books, and how a community bookshop can serve to break down prejudices, heal misconceptions, and help build a stronger home for us all.

Please visit your local Harry Hartog bookshop and let us know what you are reading or wanting to read; as we are always studying demographics, seeking to understand each community, and would love to help inspire your next read."

Harry Hartog's Independent Owners, David & Robert Berkelouw

  • The Matilda Effect by Fiona Crawford

    "This isn't about football. This is about battling recognition and equality, about perseverance and strength of female athletes that ultimately inspire a nation. For fans of sports, leaders, and the ultimate comeback story." - Ben, Bookseller in Sydney

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  • Community by Hetty Lui McKinnon

    "This book is about so much more that salads. It’s a masterclass on blending flavours and textures into a delicious meal, and the blending of the people who come together to share them." - Lauren, Subscriptions Bookseller

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  • Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman

    Challenging our tendencies to cynicism, Rutger Bregman offers an unusually positive (and much needed) perspective of the History of Humanity: what if human nature was good? - Léa, Bookseller in Hornsby

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Celestial Footy by Patrick Skene

"I can highly recommend Celestial Footy for any sports buff, historian, or community minded raconteur who is eager to hear a positive story about Australian immigration.

Through the lens of ‘footy’, Patrick Skene has brought to life some incredible community stories of multiculturalism and Australian Chinese football players. Having overcome different level of prejudice, challenge, and obstacle by immersing themselves in our national game, these players and their communities have participated and thrived." - Robert Berkelouw, Independent Owner

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Patrick Skene on Community

"On a beautiful Ballarat summer night after the launch of ‘Celestial Footy’, I was approached by an elderly gentleman who thanked me for writing the book. He said he was proud of his Gold Rush Chinese heritage but noted that his community had been marginalized from Ballarat’s history and that my book gave him great pride.

I wrote ‘Celestial Footy’ to use the power of story to help rebuild the Chinese-Australian community’s sense of identity and belonging, which had been badly shaken by the increase in COVID-19-related racism. My research uncovered a rich 140-year history of Chinese heritage Australian Rules footballers who overcame obstacles and ‘had a go’, challenging stereotypes that Chinese-Australians kept to themselves and didn’t participate in civic life.

The incredible contribution and deep history of the community in building Australia – in every state as market gardeners, brush clearers, miners, laundrymen, cooks, shop owners – surprised recent Chinese migrants who have read the Chinese language version of ‘Celestial Footy’.

The Chinese-Australian community’s response has been overwhelming, and their joy at acknowledgment has reinforced my mantra – that we are only a complete nation when all our community’s stories are moved to the centre. This notion was grasped by the dedicated booksellers at Harry Hartog, with a curated selection highlighting books that explore the many facets of community.

I hope you enjoy the selection of books, as writing can be a lonely endeavour, and these stories I’ve listened to, and those that pass-through communities, are the humbling moments that make it all worthwhile."

Patrick Skene, Author of Celestial Footy: The Story of Chinese Heritage Aussie Rules

  • Crying in H Mart

    "A must read for... well...everybody. Zauner's memoir is one that speaks in parallels; of love and loss, mothers and daughters, and the tumultuous struggle of identity, hers amplified by her experience as a Korean American, ever attempting to reconcile her two cultures." - Rory, Bookseller in Leichhardt.

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  • The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker

    "This book will shift your perspective on the importance of events, in hosting and attending. It's all about intention: in creating an atmosphere that connects people, seducing vulnerability and openness that ultimately makes us human." - Ash, Bookseller in Miranda

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  • Belonging by Owen Eastwood

    "An incredible insight into how we can create a sense of togetherness in our lives. In workplaces, sports team and even families, Eastwood identifies how we can pull it all together with a genuine approach and heart" - Alex, Bookseller in Burnside

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  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

    "Storytelling at its finest. Gladwell's approach to nonfiction is to enlighten and entertain, and to ensure the information comes across in a way you, yourself, could teach others. The perfect entry for readers looking to dive into psychology and sociology." - Lara, Bookseller in Bondi

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  • Songs from the Kitchen Table by Archie Roach

    "Reading this is like diving into a stream of time intertwined; in suffering, the healing nature of music, and storytelling." - Aliyah, Bookseller in Penrith

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  • Kindness Makes Us Strong by Sophie Beer

    "Beer's ability to teach through visual expression is key in building a community for future generations. This book has earnt its place on every child's bookshelf." - Mia, Bookseller in Tuggeranong

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