The year 2020 will be emblazoned on our collective memory for the rest of our lives. From drought to fire and then to the pandemic, we have all been affected one way or another.
Books have been a wonderful resource and comfort during this time. Whether you are seeking meaning, searching for hope, looking to escape, providing entertainment, or just wanting a good old belly laugh, all of us at Harry Hartog have enjoyed guiding our customers during this peculiar year. In fact, never before have we considered our responsibility as your trusted guides to be as important. We have particularly enjoyed welcoming new readers, children and adults alike, who have discovered or rediscovered the pleasure of books.
Harry Hartog is an Australian, family-owned business and we pride ourselves in supporting local authors and promoting Australian books. We are also committed to supplying and promoting products and services that meet ethical, sustainable and environmental standards. We strongly encourage the recycling of books and we offer these books for resale outside most of our shops. This year we have continued to support the amazing work of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and we have made a special donation to the Wildlife Rescue South Coast following the devastating fires in early 2020.
Last but not least, we wholeheartedly believe in the art of bookselling and the value we bring to our customers. Knowledge, guidance and creative ideas are the cornerstone of our community. We thank you for being part of that community.
Stay safe and happy reading.
Robert & David Berkelouw,
Founders, Harry Hartog Bookseller
When my brother Sam and I were travelling around Australia raising awareness and funds for cancer research with our charity Love Your Sister, we were fortunate to meet a myriad of people who shared their stories with us.
We met people who open their hearts and homes to our damaged folk and stay for the long haul; a couple who campaign vigorously for organ donation since losing their precious daughter, a girl who saved many lives after her death; a veteran who squared up to his PTSD and now devotes his spare time to helping others see a future; frontline workers who take on so much, so we don’t have to; community members who bring us together, create special events to brighten dark times and rally strangers to feed our homeless.
It didn’t take long to realise that there are countless people living quietly in our midst who go over and above to make a difference. People who face adversity, learn from their experiences and do all they can to ease the paths of others. Our unsung heroes who work tirelessly to improve our lives and our communities without seeking acknowledgment. Sam and I sat down and wrote Heroes Next Door because they should be acknowledged and it is too easy to forget how wonderful people can be.
These are their stories.
My book, The Grandest Bookshop in the World, is set in the famous Cole’s Book Arcade in Melbourne. Drawing on the ideas of its founder EW Cole (as well as ample dashes of my own!), here are the Essential Features of a Bookshop to Sharpen the Intellect and Amuse the Family.
FIRSTLY, it must have the proper atmosphere. Whether narrow and cosy, or breathtakingly large, it must be bright and warm.
SECONDLY, it must be welcoming to children, and to the child within the rest of us.
THIRDLY, there must be something warm to drink.
FOURTHLY, it must be both neat and well-stocked. Minimalism in a bookshop is as sad as in a pantry.
FIFTHLY, it must contain something surprising, such as fairy doors or a cat.
SIXTHLY, it should never have an inflatable waving creature outside, advertise in fluorescent colours, or be named anything like Crazy Fred’s Dirt Cheap Brainfood Bonanza.
Having seen readers and booksellers alike swoon for his debut book, Boy Swallows Universe, we expect much of the same universal love for his newest, All Our Shimmering Skies. We cheekily asked Trent what it’s like having captured the heart of Australia…
Occasional budding investigative reporter that I am, I decided to do some deep digging into the veracity of any rumours and reports that might have suggested a wiry, pasty, pot-bellied, dad-bodied, banana-bending git such as I could be worthy of such a title. After some surprisingly exhaustive and explosive late night phone debates with everyone from Keneally to Winton to every Miles Franklin judging panellist since 2008, it is with great regret that I must inform you glorious and loyal readers of the Harry Hartog Handbook that, in fact, the title of ‘Australia’s Literary Heartthrob’ remains in the rightful ownership of my long-time literary man-crush, Markus Zusak. I can also say this with profound authority, having met the man in person beneath the billowing shelter of a writers’ festival signing tent last year. He thieved no books that long perfect day, to be sure. But boy did that man steal my heart.
Photo credit: Russell Shakespeare
I find it difficult to write fathers. No matter how hard I try, they always turn out to be good. I’ve never had trouble with the mothers in my novels, who have come to mind with faults already sewn in. Or rather, the story comes to mind and there, in the centre of it, is a mother whose fundamental lack, in whatever form it takes, is the story.
Fathers, I have to think up. Any flaw I try to give him has downgraded itself to a foible by the time it reaches the page. His mistakes, so grievous in my head, all seem well-intentioned.
I have wondered, but I am not sure why. Perhaps it is a lack of personal experience. I am one of the lucky ones when it comes to what kind of father I got. Perhaps I’m not brave enough to inhabit, for as long as you have to, a character who knows the tragedy of a bad father.
Or maybe it is just my preference as a reader. When it comes to female characters, mothers or not, I am singularly interested in difficult, complicated women, like the antiheroine of Dept. of Speculation or the middle-aged protagonist of The Children Act. Men, especially fathers, I want to be kind, honorable or striving to be, like Eli’s stepfather in Boy Swallows Universe, the widowed father in Grief is The Thing With Feathers.
A good man, especially in this moment, is just such a relief. That is why I read – for time off, to be elsewhere for a while, somewhere better where men are always good and women don’t have to be and we all get the parents we want. I want a feeling of home, and an infusion of hope. That, more than anything, is what I hope my novel Sorrow and Bliss, with a heroine who is lost and her father who is always there, will give to any reader who needs it.
Photo credit Maria Midoes
My essential “Asian” pantry is really my everyday pantry. Whether we realise it or not, we are already using many of the ingredients that are important to cooking everyday Asian meals. Some of my essentials are:
Miso is an essential source of salty, earthy and funky flavour. Made of fermented soybeans and koji (a mould that’s also used to make sake), there are many varieties of miso - white (shiro) miso is mellow in flavour and is usually the type I choose; and red (aka) miso, which has a much more intense taste.
Rice vinegar is an essential ingredient in Asian salad dressings. It is less acidic than white vinegar and has a mild, delicate flavour with just a hint of sweetness.
A drop of sesame oil makes just about every dish better, imparting an umami-rich deliciousness. Toasted sesame oil has a rich, intense flavour, and is used to add flavour in the final stages of cooking or when serving.
Soy sauce, tamari, liquid aminos and coconut aminos
I use soy sauce, tamari, liquid aminos and coconuts aminos interchangeably. Nowadays I tend to stick with tamari, liquid aminos and coconut aminos, which are all gluten free.
I use tahini as a substitute for Chinese sesame paste (ji ma jiang), a thick paste made from roasted sesame seeds.
Many a plant has met an untimely end at the hands of an overzealous plant parent and a serious case of over watering. In the case of most tropical plants you want to allow the top 2-5cm of potting mix to dry out between watering. Don’t be afraid to get your fingers in the soil to see when your plants need a drink.
– Lauren Camilleri, Plantopedia
If you had asked most people a year ago, they would have told you there was no way school children could shift overnight to online learning; that it was impossible for banks to offer mortgage holidays; impossible to double unemployment benefits; impossible to house rough sleepers or put a hold on evictions; impossible to offer wages subsidies, and definitely impossible to get Australians to stay home from the beach and the pub.
COVID-19 has changed us. Upturn brings together some of the country’s most interesting thinkers, who are ready to imagine a better Australia, and to fight for it.
It is a very readable road map to a stronger economy and a fairer society.