→ Iryna Byelyayeva
203/197 Little Lonsdale St, CBD
Tucked down Little Lonsdale, opposite the behemoth State Library, hides a small independent bookshop (with perhaps the best window display you will ever see) housing the greatest range of science and philosophy books. Embiggen Books is wonderfully cosy. With books stacked from floor to ceiling, a couple of couches and a rustic coffee station that will be the envy of everyone on your Instagram feed, it’s the perfect escape from the intensity of Melbourne’s CBD. The wooden shelves and overall antique aesthetic make the space feel calm and warm. I love walking in and feeling the noise of Swanston Street fade out. Embiggen Books is very much a bookshop that lets you feel relaxed and ready to spend a long time searching for your next read.
Depending on your genre of passionate choice, the selection of books may seem small. But the sections are so varied and thoughtfully picked out that you can trust what they do sell is the best. Mostly Embiggen Books stocks popular science and philosophy, though they do have a great selection of fiction, children’s books, art and design books, and more. The staff behind the counter (which reminds me of a funky puppet theatre booth) are always ready to chat about whatever it is you’ve finally decided to buy—or help with the decision making process.
On many occasions Embiggen Books has saved me from wasting time on my phone when I’ve been early to meet a friend at the library or to class. On entering, I immediately stride to the tables of recommendations and the clearance cart (usually filled with art books my wallet isn’t willing to die for at this stage of my life, but which my heart will have a brief, fleeting romance with). Next, I take two steps and find myself in the nook harbouring general fiction, poetry and biography. Once I’ve successfully expanded the ‘to read’ list on my phone, panicked about how little time there is and finally decided which book from these shelves I’ll dedicate myself to next, it’s time to admire the interior design. This is an incredibly aesthetically pleasing shop—one that I believe you should just go and see for yourself.
Embiggen Books is where I recommend popping into to add a little bit of (scientific) magic to your CBD outing. It may be close to everything, but its quiet, less-frequented location makes it feel like it’s in a whole different place. One of those picturesque places you dream of finding. And buy a book when you’ve found it too, because a book from a shop you love has double the story to tell.