Within the stony bowels of the Trades Hall basement is the New International Bookstore, a hive of activity for radical literature since the 1930s. The store is run by a collective of over 450 members and is strictly not-for-profit, with all proceeds going towards upkeep of the store and wages for its small but committed team of staff.
Stocking anything and everything from Marxist and anarchist titles to biographies and fiction, the store’s frequent $5 book sales provide feasts of brain-food, no matter how proletarian your budget. You can even recycle and donate your books back for the store’s yearly Big Red Book Fair fundraising event.
If you are there around closing time on a Wednesday night, you might be lucky enough to catch one of the bookstore’s many and varied Underground Talks. If the gamut of topics covered in 2011 is anything to go by (climate change, bogan culture and a secret history of queer Melbourne), the line-up of future talks announced on the bookstore website will be worth keeping an eye out for in 2012.