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Literary Treasures: Ariel Books

To all avid readers, Ariel Books is somewhat of a mecca. There is no better way to spend a few hours than leafing through thick coffee table books on art and design, re-reading a classic or finding a new literary love. With two stores – one in Paddington and other in The Rocks – Ariel Books has just as much to offer as any Borders or Dymocks, minus the faceless feel of a big business. Warm and inviting like a library but with the exciting atmosphere of a record store, Ariel Books is the perfect place to escape the summer heat (or rain!) and get lost in the pages of another (less humid) world. Along with an abundance of books, there are also tiny treasures at Ariel such as Moleskines, kitsch Mexican ornaments and... chocolate. And just for the night owls, the store is open until the clock strikes twelve. We chatted to director Steven Blanks.

Can you give us a brief history of how Ariel Books was born?
Ariel was established in 1984. It was a period when Oxford Street was emerging as an exciting cultural fashion and shopping prescient.

Where does the store take its name from?
From the Shakespeare play entitled by the same name. Ariel is the sprite, full of passion, vitality and optimism.
What sets Ariel Books apart from other book shops?
The selection of books on offer, the opening hours (we are open until midnight every day of the week) and the culture of the staff.

Along with books, what other treasures will we come across in your stores?
We import interesting products and art pieces from all around the world. As well we have the best chocolates in the world - Haighs !

Do you remember the book that made you fall in love with literature?
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Fountainhead by Anne Ryand.

What would you recommend as the ultimate summer read?
I am a believer that books pick readers. Just by browsing and relaxing in the store you are sure to find a book that you need to read. Also, our staff can assist you in making a choice.

About how many books does the Ariel library currently comprise?
We may not carry the same quantity as Dymocks but what is on offer is the very best. Also we are able to order any book that you want.

Where do you see Ariel Books headed in the future?
Becoming a major hub and destination for anyone who has a passion of books and life in general.

Side Street, Sydney has a $25 Ariel Books voucher to giveaway. If you want it, simply send a short email explaining the moment you fell in love with books to

words: Ingrid Kesa


December 3, 2010 at 11:24 AM barb said...

love this place !

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