Meet the Bookseller with Amy Vuleta

Amy Vuleta shares some of her favourite new releases from Australian authors, and tells us which Michael Chabon book inspired her to invest in a beehive!


Why do you work in books?

I’ve always loved to read, and when I was a teenager I realised that most of what I knew about the world – of history, geography, biology and human relationships – I had learned from reading stories. I’ve always sought knowledge of the world in fiction, which may seem counterintuitive to some people, but actually makes perfect sense to me. I love working with literature because I see it as a means for us all to explore and understand our lives and the world.

What was your favourite book as a kid?

I loved the picture book The Jolly Postman when I was little – discovering the handwritten letters and cards inside the envelopes is such a vivid memory. When I was older, I read everything I could find in the local library by Victor Kelleher. I loved his otherworldly characters and settings. I’m really pleased to see that Taronga has been re-released by Penguin in the Australian Children’s Classics series.

What’s the best book you’ve read lately and why?

I loved Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell. It’s a take on the classic hardboiled noir-style story, but set in the hills of the Ozarks in Arkansas. The femme fatale role is filled by a skinny girl with tomato red hair, dying to get out of her backwater town, and the fall guy is endearing, loyal, and really someone you want to get behind. Woodrell is a brilliant writer.

I’ve also read a couple of really impressive new releases from Australian writers recently—*Steeplechase* by Krissy Kneen, Ghost Wife by Michelle Dicinoski, and Entitlement by Jessica White. They were all beautifully written and compelling modern Australian stories.

What’s your favourite book of all time and why?

I always find the ‘favourite of all time’ question impossible to answer! Today I will say Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, or her novella Matilda. I love the drama of Frankenstein, and the precise, knowing challenge to Victorian society offered up in Matilda.

What’s the best experience you’ve had in a bookshop?

The best experience I’ve had in a bookshop was at the Housing Works second hand bookshop in New York. Last year I waited outside the shop in the rain for an hour and a half to get a seat at The Moth story slam, and it was worth every damp minute. The Moth podcast is about people telling true stories, live and unscripted. We heard a bunch of New Yorkers distil an experience they’d had into a five-minute story in ways that were funny, heartbreaking, illuminating, and entertaining.

What have you noticed people buying lately?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, all of the books in the Song of Fire and Ice series, and anything that has been made into a film recently.

Name a book that has changed the way you think – in ways small or large.

The Final Solution by Michael Chabon has a character in it that keeps bees, and a wonderful scene of him extracting the honey, and it seemed to put the idea in my head that I wanted to be an apiarist. Now I have my own hive in my backyard!