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Books in the garage

Since closing our shop, I’ve been working hard to sort out books in our garage.

The front part of our garage was originally going to be a spare bedroom but now… well, it’s overflowing with books!

The plan is that people can make an appointment to come and browse. Groups of 3 or 4 people would also be welcome but please be aware that I don’t have eftpos facilities.

Use the Contact Page if you would like to visit.


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Shop closure

Sadly, Variety Bookroom closed on 30th June 2023. There were many reasons, I know this has disappointed a lot of our very loyal local book-lovers. All I can say is that our little bookshop served the community well for nine years and I made some good friends across the journey.

We continue to offer an online service of course but not so much current bestsellers. We hope to be adding hundreds more rare and interesting books to our website over coming weeks and months.

Thanks to all the wonderful casual staff who have worked at Variety Bookroom, especially Lisa Tops and Jade Rendell who were there right to the end. Thank you and God bless.

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The Last Hurrah?

It’s Saturday morning, 25th September. Grand Final Day. Victorian football fans are grieving that the MCG stands silent and empty. Two Melbourne teams will play off tonight in Perth. Brisbane did a great job hosting last year’s one-day-in-September and I’m sure Perth will put on a magnificent game.

I was a keen Melbourne fan back in 1964 when Neil Crompton snapped a late goal to give them the lead over Collingwood in the ‘grannie’. I also remember well the controversy that followed, with legendary coach Norm Smith leaving the club, and then, horror of horrors, Ron Barassi left for Carlton! As a ten-year old kid, I was devastated and my hatred of Carlton lasted for… well… let’s just say a long, long time.

Earlier this year, well before it was obvious that Melbourne would finish top of the ladder and get through to a Grand Final, Adam Woolcock published a book called “The Last Hurrah – Melbourne Premiers 1964.” The cover shows a jubilant Norm Smith celebrating the win with uncharacteristic flair and enthusiasm. Reading the book some months back was quite a nostalgia trip. We still have a few copies of the book in store but maybe the title will be incorrect by siren time tonight. Or it might be even more painfully relevant for Melbourne fans.

And, just to put the record straight, I gave up barracking for the hapless Demons in the 1980s when I became a Christian pastor. It just didn’t seem right to barrack for demons, so I switched to the St Kilda Saints. At least their club song is a variation of a Christian hymn! But sadly, their premiership drought continues.

We are continually adding more books to our website, not so much the current bestsellers which, of course, we stock, but the website features books that people might be looking for. Thanks for checking us out.

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Welcome to our updated website.

We will be adding hundreds of new and used books in the coming weeks and months. If you’ve been looking for, like, forever for that certain book, why not bookmark us and check our growing lists from time to time? If you find something you want, you can purchase it online and we will ship it out for you.

Thanks to Emma Fisher for doing such a thorough job setting this up.

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Contesting Faith

It’s something a bit special for a bookseller to have his own novel in stock. Contesting Faith is a novel about a young man who learns that he has a terminal cancer. The thing is, he has never really thought about what he believes. So how should he live whatever is left of his life?

The answer that comes to him is to start on online contest between all the different religions and life philosophies. On July 31st, he will commit to the faith or ideology that has earned the most points on his blog.

But cancer is not so predictable and neither is life.

Contesting Faith sells for $25 and has 316 pages. Quotes can be supplied for multiple copies or copies mailed out to you.

We would also love to talk with other bookshops who might like some copies on consignment or direct purchase.

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Christmas 2018

Rapidly getting to the point now where we cannot guarantee orders will be in before Christmas, although some of our suppliers are doing remarkably well. But the focus shifts a little about now. It’s not so much “Can you get XYZ? and it’s more “Let’s see what you’ve already got in store that might be the perfect gift!”

We’re still pretty well stocked, although some popular titles are now out of stock. We still have a range of Christian Christmas cards, the type that you don’t find just anywhere these days. And Sandie has made lots of beautiful cards that are well worth checking out.

I guess I’ve always loved Christmas music and we still have a selection of great Christmas CDs, for the kids as well as the whole family.

Be richly blessed this Christmas as we celebrate the coming of our Saviour! 

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Our third birthday this month!

Saturday 24th June is our 3rd birthday at Variety Bookroom. I suspect there are more than a few people around the Moe area that are surprised we’ve made it so long. And I suppose the truth is that it’s our passion for books that has kept us going rather than any passion for making heaps of money.

We have good months and not-so-good months, good days and bad days. Some days it feels like the only people who come in are people who want to complain about something. Or people who expect us to magically find something that nobody else has been able to find. I mean, thanks for the compliment but, sad to say, there are still some things that we can’t do.

Most days are not like that of course. We have many wonderful customers and I am especially humbled by the ones who tell me that they could get some books a bit cheaper elsewhere, or online, but they come to us because they want to support local business. And because they just love browsing in bookshops!

I found this quote recently: “Bookstores are one of the outward and visible signs of the inward truth of the central role of the book in the maintenance and augmentation of the culture. Absent the book, the fate of humankind would be that of still primitive savages… So salute the culture the book imparts and make use of the bookstores, which bring to the reader the enjoyment of the old and new fruits of culture.” (Richard Abel, in “The Art of the Bookstore”, Gibbs M Smith, 2009)

We often use the slogan “Live Richly” in our advertising. And we count it a real privilege to help people do just that!

Now if I can just convince my accountant and bank manager… Ah well. I guess you can’t have everything!


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The War on Women – Sue Lloyd-Roberts

My previous book review published here was extremely negative about a particular feminist book. So, for balance, here is my review of a feminist book that I believe every socially-aware man and woman should read. 


Sue Lloyd Roberts was working on this book when she died in 2015. Her astonishing career in journalism had taken her to some of the harshest places in the world. In many of these places, she was appalled at the treatment of women and she become an advocate and activist for change in several nations, including her own home country, Britain.
Issues tackled in this book include female genital mutilation, religious abuse in Ireland, discrimination against women in Saudi Arabia, sex-trafficking in various nations, rape and sexual abuse at the hands of (would you believe?) UN peacekeeper soldiers, forced marriage and honour killings in Muslim cultures and a general mistreatment of women in India. Britain’s record of turning a blind eye to FGM and honour killings earns it a place of shame, unlike France where such things are much more likely to lead to conviction and corresponding jail time.
Sue’s daughter, Sarah, has written the introduction and BBC Chief International Correspondent, Lyse Doucet, has written a kind of journalistic eulogy to complete the book.
Unfortunately, Sarah has also written a chapter entitled “Sex Inequality in the UK” in which she itemises, sector by sector, the pay gap between males and females. Obviously there is validity in calling for “the same wages for the same job” but Sarah also talks about “the motherhood trap” whereby women take time out from their careers to have children only to find males leapfrogging them on the corporate ladder. And she laments that women are more highly represented in part-time employment. She writes “As long as society continues to believe that mothers are the best carers for their children, we are denying women the same opportunities as men.” (p267)  This tendency to downplay motherhood in favour of career recognition must be considered a serious blindspot of the feminist movement and this chapter definitely spoils what is otherwise a magnificently confronting expose of the shocking abuse that women suffer in so many parts of the world.
Apart from the relative trivialities of chapter 12, this is an outstanding book that should spark ongoing outrage at the brutal war on women that it still happening in too many places.

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Fight Like a Girl – A Truly Offensive Book

FIGHT LIKE A GIRL – Clementine Ford

This may be the most offensive book that I have ever read. The author deliberately uses the vilest, most disgusting language that she can find. Hardly surprising, though, when her purpose is clearly stated on the back cover. Regarding “all women and young girls”, Clementine Ford wants to “take the emptiness and numbness they feel about being a girl in this world and turn it into rage and power.”

It’s obviously a book addressed to females but males are ruthlessly targeted from start to finish. Ford’s online presence has already exposed her to every possible objection to her extreme misandric vitriol. Reasonable comments such as “Not all men are evil woman-haters” or “Your rage is not helping” are dismissed by a vicious cocktail of twisted logic. Generalisations from history and extreme examples from the present are used to “prove” that all men are constantly focused on asserting their superiority and maintaining a self-serving patriarchy in the world. Worldwide, it must be acknowledged that there are serious issues affecting girls and women but the suggestion that Western feminism is directing its rage in the wrong direction only spurs Ford to murkier depths of foul abuse. She seems to honestly believe that this is just another misogynist plot to derail and distract the “righteous” cause of female equality. Incredibly, she denies that there even is such a thing as misandry (hatred of men), since everything already works to uphold the patriarchy. A wild exaggeration used to support a ridiculous assertion.

Speaking of gender equality, this surely goes to the heart of the problem. Males and females are different and we should be able to celebrate that difference. But, in Ford’s view, equality has to mean sameness. In her case, that seems to mean that women should be more like men, or her perception of men at least, that is that they should be more aggressive and confrontational – witness the constant foul language.

One example of Ford’s twisted logic comes from p259. In lamenting what she sees as a prevailing “rape culture”. In response to the suggestion that women should “be careful and make sensible choices”, she writes: “Men cannot have it both ways. They can’t instruct us on how to behave to avoid danger from Bad People and then get outraged when we decide that this might include them.” Of course it’s not only men who try to caution young women about what they wear and how drunk they get in certain situations. But Ford’s statement turns thoughtfulness and genuine care for women into complicity with rape!

Ford obviously lives in a different world to me. I see a world where girls and women are constantly encouraged to achieve great things, where females outnumber males in university, where women are doing all the things that men used to do, where women are empowered and men are often confused and disempowered. But, in Christ, and in God’s Church, I see a whole subculture where women are deeply respected and honoured, not for beating men at their own game but for being who they were created to be, beautiful, loving, caring mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.

This book sends all the wrong messages. There is a sadness underneath it all because the author felt worthless and hated in her early life. But turning this rage against half of the human race and seeing misogynist motives in everything men say and do is not going to help anyone.