BY SOPHIE KEPREOTES
Having only started just over one month ago, Secret Book Stuff has already made a name for itself around Newcastle and Australia. PHD graduate and creative
writing teacher, Amy Lovat explains, “I thought this was going to be a fun way to minimalise my life because I was moving house and I have like 900
“I usually give them away to friends but I thought maybe there is a better way to do this. I had no idea how much it was going to expand organically so
“I am just a huge bookaholic and my collection was getting completely out of hand. I also read in March that according to the Australian Council for the
Arts they did a survey and found that reading is Australia’s favourite past time activity. That just made me so happy because there is all that debate
about books and whether people even read anymore and are we just an illiterate generation that can only pay attention to social media, and that was
just really heartening to learn."
Keep an eye out for the Secret Book Stuff books next time you are having coffee at your favourite Café. Or why not jump online and send one to a friend?
Do you have a favourite author?
"That is too hard of a question. I don’t have a favourite author; I do have favourite books though. I am obviously a big Harry Potter fan because I grew
up with Harry Potter. I read the first book when I was 11 and he was 11. One of the best books I’ve ever read is White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I read
the first chapter three times in a row before I read the rest of it because it was just the most perfect and best chapter I have ever read in my life.
The Bronze Horseman Series is a favourite that I read over and over again, but I read a lot. I try and read a book a week every year; I’ve been doing
that for three years now. I have never made the 52, the closest I got was 48, it is a goal of mine".
Is Secret Book Stuff something you will be able to sustain as the demand for it grows?
"There is enough interest and enough people all around Australia who have been messaging me on Instagram and saying, ‘can I start this in my town?' So
I'm putting together Secret Book Stuff starter kits for the website, to send people the materials to start giving away secret books where they live".
Which Cafes can we expect to find Secret Book Stuff in?
"It’s really random; basically if I have a meeting or a coffee date with a friend I’ll take some books with me. So I have a massive stack in the back of
the car with me always."
Do you have a favourite Café in Newcastle?
"I love it here [apothecary Kitchen
and I really love Core
on Darby Street,
is a favourite and Esther C
is super cute. I am just a massive café hopper, I am HUNTERhunter’s ultimate customer, I need to know
the new places and I will go to them straight away. Have you been to Winnie’s Jamaican
yet? It is so good!"
Besides this initiative, Amy has also just finished the final edits of her very first novel.
You seem very busy, what else do you get up to in your spare time?
"I do a lot of yoga and a lot of running. I teach Pilates and I do Chakradance, I do a lot of meditation.
"I live an environmentally conscious life and I really believe in making conscious choices in our every day life against mass consumerism. So they are
pre-loved books for a reason, even though I am a massive bookaholic and I will buy a new book every day if I had the bank account to support that and
I really support literature, but also there are just so many books sitting on people shelves that they never look at, never read again.
"I had tried to take them to second-hand bookstores, but they don’t take them a lot of the time because they have too much stock. So that was another reason
why I wanted to do this because it is spreading the love of literature, it’s planting little seeds of kindness in peoples minds and hearts and that
will hopefully encourage them to do something kind for someone else.
"It is 100% recycled paper, the roll of it even comes in recycled cellophane, this is biodegradable twine, and the stamp is an eco rubber stamp. I like
to make a point that everything is a recyclable product because it helps people understand this isn’t about bringing more stuff into the world".