Wanaka-based Mandy Myles’ turned her lockdown passion project into a burgeoning bookstore business, filling the gap in the local market for an online indie bookshop with a curated eye. We talk to the book-lover about launching a business during a pandemic, her favourite titles and who she’d invite to her dream dinner party.Â
If I had to describe myself in two sentences… I am a real homebody who loves a good book and a nice glass of wine. I usually have some creative project or hobby underway and currently, I am pouring all my creative passion into Bookety Book Books.
The idea for Bookety Book Books started… Iâve dreamt about owning a bookstore forever and when we went into lockdown I used this new spare time to post book reviews on Instagram.
It became quite popular and people started commenting about how they appreciated my recommendations as they found choosing what to read somewhat overwhelming. And so I launched Bookety Book Books, a user-friendly online indie bookstore, with a curated selection for like-minded readers to guide them on their next best read.
I’m listening to… Any music by Charlotte Day Wilson – all the time.
My current podcast recommendation… Pandora Sykesâ (originally from The High Low) solo podcast, Doing it Right, which coincided with her recent book launch. On the podcast, Sykes interviews a host of fascinating âexpertsâ about their life including hopes, dreams and anxieties. She has this wonderful ability to crack into intricacies of societal pressures and how we can potentially view them a bit differently.
In my handbag, you’ll find… Snacks, heaps of snacks. I always joke about having âlow blood pressureâ but really I am just an awful person when Iâm hungry. Also, about ten different bright coloured lipsticks even though I mainly just wear the same one. And obviously something to read.
My favourite place to dine… My handbag (see above), but when Iâm not dining from my handbag the Bannockburn Hotel is a real treat to venture to. Itâs about a 40-minute drive from Wanaka and has the most amazing wine list, great views and beautiful sharing plates. A perfect long lunch spot.
The best book I’ve read lately… Lanny, by Max Porter. I really enjoyed the elements of fantasy balanced masterfully with modern life issues. Set amongst the backdrop of a small old English village, with hints of an eccentric crime thriller, all packed into a neat short read. Deservingly longlisted for the 2019 Man Booker Prize.
Porter has this phenomenal imagination to write fiction in a way that weaves life’s realities with magic, without seeming far-fetched. I have been really enjoying experimental fiction writing lately, it adds a whole new dimension to the reader experience.
A book I can’t wait to get my hands on… Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan. Set in Hong Kong, Exciting Times follows the lives of three expats as they negotiate the ups and downs of modern love, class and capitalism. Dolan has been compared to Sally Rooney for this brilliantly witty debut, plus it’s only 197 pages, which suggests a very well edited plot.
The most cherished possession I own… Gifted from my Grandad, the framed recipe for the Cherry and Almond biscuits my Grandmother used to make, complete with her handwritten notes – thereâs nothing quite like beautiful handwriting.
My style icon… Susie Lau – known as susie bubble on instagram (@susiebubble). I have been obsessed with her style for some time. Also Harry Styles for his pearl necklace jumper combos – a work of brilliance.
If I could have dinner with any three people on earth… Firstly Princess Margaret as she will be hosting, we will all get to wear one of her tiaras for the evening, while she plays the piano and we have a jolly good old sing along with plenty of wine on a beautiful evening at Balmoral Castle. Joining us is Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the writer and creator of Fleabag and head writer for Killing Eve. Finally Patricia Field the stylist from Sex and the City, she will dress us all. It would be an absolute riot.
My favourite literary icon… I’m going to throw it back to my younger years here and say Jacqueline Wilson, she chaperoned my childhood with her offbeat characters. I think sheâs helped a lot of young girls not to feel alone and will always hold a special place on my bookshelf.
The book everyone needs to read this winter isâŠ There is a lot of talk about making sure you are reading diversely right now so check in with your âto readâ list that this includes some authors from home. I recommend AuÄ, by Becky Manawatu. AueÌ is a heartbreaking book having been compared to Alan Duff’s, Once Were Warriors.
However, donât let this comparison deter you as unlike Duff’s sombre novel, AueÌ is full of beautiful characters that are so full of heart, they keep you going through this constantly unfolding journey – a true testament to Manawatuâs skill as a writer, in this award-winning debut novel. âŁ