Spontaneity got me to Good Reading. A rainy Thursday, no commitments, why don't we go for a drive? I was quite sure Benalla was, ooh, maybe 45 minutes from my house. Perfect driving time -- not too long, and just far enough to make getting there seem like a real adventure.
So, I've never been good with distance and driving, and the trip took nearly two hours. Oops. Good thing the Benalla countryside is lined with gorgeous yellow canola fields, each one more brilliant and full than the one before. It's a peaceful, scenic drive. Well worth the few extra kilometres on the clock.
I found Good Reading almost straight away, the big, yellow "BOOKS" sign out the front practically unmissable. You know, you go to secondhand bookstores long enough, they all start to blend. Each arrange sections differently, each overprice in their own way, the store owners either want to converse about every little thing, or just stick to their knitting. I prepped myself for the exciting, yet same old, world of books.
What I found at Good Reading was very nearly an entrance into The Neverending Story. This bookstore was like none I'd even been to: the ceiling-high shelves, the paintings, the little calligraphy notes marking genres, the catacombs that continued to wind and bend so that by the end of the walk-thru, every possible type of book has been encountered, in bulk. Good Reading is not simply a book store, it's an archive, and everything's for sale.
I didn't ask to take photos, so while the white-haired woman at the counter was helping a customer to find updated road-map books, I snuck in a few snaps.
Surprisingly, I only spent about $60. And then cursed the $15 I spent on dinner, because there was just so much more I wanted. I have now created a savings fund specifically for my next visit.
There's something to be said for random trips through the country. Try it... you might come home with some books.
Good Reading, 22 Bridge Street, Benalla, 3672, Victoria, Australia