Book Country

This is where I spent yesterday - the southern highlands of NSW.  I started in Bowral, meandered through Moss Vale and Sutton Forrest, thence to Berrima, and wound up at Berkelouw's Book Barn, 3ks down the road - and only about 10 ks from the Hume Highway if you happen to be shuffling from Sydney to Canberra or vice versa.  The region is home to the NSW Book Trail, and is thickly populated with second-hand book stores. I didn't buy much (just Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers at the improbably named Bong Bong Books, and a Georgette Heyer at Sophie's Books - both in Bowral). Berkelouw's, though, is well worth a visit.  I remember vividly my first visit to Berkelouw's in Newtown, hidden away in an alley off King Street, a store of untold wonders.  This one, if possible, is even better. Tucked down a tree-lined lane in the middle of farm country, it's a vast, beamy, lofted structure, its stone flagged ground floor and woody attic both stuffed with books ranging from the rare and costly to the cheap as chips. They also do pretty tolerable coffee in an adjoining saloon.  I drove home to Canberra at dusk  in something of a happy dream. Nothing like books and God's green earth to remind one how good it is to be alive.