Sian Williams, Book Worm and Hoarder of Literature, Atavist Books

You’re not better than anyone and no one is better than you ...

A lover of literature and specialty publications, Sian Williams turned her penchant for paper into a business. When she found her bookcase creaking under the strain of an overbearingly large collection, a personal library that could never be complete, Sian made the decision to open a secondhand book store. Plonked along the back wall of Fortitude Valley’s eclectic laneway Winn Lane, Atavist Books specialises in artists’ books, zines and location publications, as well as stocking a hefty collection of classic, cult and underground titles. When she’s not manning her wooden closet of a book nook and making fun with Winn Lane friends, Sian’s busy rummaging garage sales and secret locales for discarded tomes that she can clean up and find good homes for. The Weekend Edition caught up with Sian to discover her perfect weekend.

How do you like to start your weekend?
With a breakfast margarita of course, dummy!

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
Drinking coffee and talking books with customers.

How do you like to unwind?
By prank calling The Outpost.

What are your essentials for a well-spent weekend?
Hanging out with friends. If I say reading is it overkill?

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do on the weekend but haven’t got around to yet?
I’d have to say Wild Boys Afloat or sleep. But no sleep ’til you’re dead, right? So just Wild Boys Afloat.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday evening?
Choosing new books to put in the shop.

What are you looking forward to next weekend?
The Winn Lane Yard Sale!

What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve been trying to get through Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury for a while but I’ve just shelfed it to read The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak.

What inspires you?
My super amazing friends and family, not to mention the talented and passionate small business broads making a go of it in Winn Lane.

What was your childhood dream?
To win the Smithfield Shopping Center colouring-in competition, but my sweaty palms and poor hand-eye coordination were major dream dampeners.

What has been your greatest achievement?
Finding an ecstatic customer and jazz enthusiast a copy of the Australian Jazz Encyclopaedia self-published by some aficionado in Brisbane in the 1970s.

What is success to you?
Making spot-on book recommendations.

What are your words of wisdom?
Well I usually try to live by Wu wisdom but I don’t think that’s printable. So I’m going to go with “You’re not better than anyone and no one is better than you” – by my dad.

Only a local would know that … Atavist Books is the hottest ticket in town for beautiful old books, local and international zines and the creme de la creme of killer reads.


Perk up … Jamie’s Espresso Bar, Fortitude Valley
Relax … Those $2 shiatsu armchairs in the Myer Centre
Dine …  Kuan Yin Tea House, Fortitude Valley
Indulge … Sunday Social, Winn Lane
Shop … Winn Lane, Fortitude Valley
Catch-up … Flamingo Cafe, Winn Lane.
Be inspired … Atavist Books!


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