Alone with a good read

Diving into a book is treasured time all to yourself, but first you have to find that brilliant book.

For devoted readers, Unity Books, on Auckland's High St, is as tempting as a sweetshop. Photo / Sarah Ivey
For devoted readers, Unity Books, on Auckland's High St, is as tempting as a sweetshop. Photo / Sarah Ivey

When all you want to do is snuggle down with a good book, the city is a haven for book-lovers:

1. Auckland Central City Library

Naturally, the big central city library has books, books and more books, but the Sir George Grey Collection alone is worth a visit. With ancient manuscripts, maps, photographs and rare books from Captain Cook and Shakespeare, plus researchers in residence and access to national archives, this is a city treasure trove. And with digital resources, games, ebooks, a cafe right next door, you can happily fill a winter afternoon.

2. Unity Books

Award-winning, independent, this is one of the few proper bookshops left in inner-city Auckland (with a sister store in Wellington). Sure, they have a terrific online ordering service, a regular newsletter with recommendations and reviews, but there's nothing like browsing the shelves and discovering a book you didn't know you had to read.

There's some of the best non-fiction, but also fiction, crime, poetry. Everything, really, and book people who know their stuff. A national treasure.

3. Jason Books

If you can't find it new, nip around the corner to Jason Books, which has more than 20,000 quality secondhand, out-of-print and rare books. There is a reason the business is still here after 40 years; the New Zealand, Maori, Pacific, nautical, art and literature collections will make you realise there is too much to know, too little time. Or just follow owner Maud Cahill's picks to save you having to choose.

4. Auckland City Art Gallery Gift Shop

If you are still mourning the demise of the gorgeous Parsons Books, go around the corner to Auckland Art Gallery gift shop. As well as the gallery's own publications, the shop has a terrific collection of international art, design, architecture and photography, including boutique books available only from them.

The children's book section has treats from the best of New Zealand's publishers - with the best illustrations, naturally.

Check out the EH McCormick library, which has more than 3500 files on New Zealand painters, sculptors and photographers. Follow new releases on the gallery's Facebook page.

- NZ Herald

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