I spent a couple of weeks in my home state of New South Wales in December, and as well as going to academic conferences and seeing friends and family and celebrating the holidays, I decided to add something else to my agenda: going on book quests.

I was determined, in my time in NSW, to find at least a few of the fifty books on our Summer of Romance list. I thought this was something I could do idly – that if I saw a secondhand bookshop or a library or something, I could just pop in and browse their books and see what they had. (And, I should point out, this is a totally valid form of book hunting!) But for me, as it turns out, there was nothing idle about it: hunting for books became totally addictive. Hunting down these fifty books became my own personal form of Pokémon Go – I was determined to catch ‘em all!

I tweeted all my adventures at my personal Twitter account (@JodiMcA), and later turned them into Storifies using our project account (@ShelfieSummer). I’ve included links to all these Storifies at the bottom of this post.

As you can see, some of these quests were pretty fruitless. On my first book quest around Marrickville and Dulwich Hill in the inner west of Sydney, I visited six places before I finally hit the jackpot. Some, like the quest I did with my mum in Shellharbour and Warilla in the Illawarra, were an absolute bonanza of books. I guess it goes to show that you never know what you’re going to find!

Fruitful or not, I decided to document all my experiences. I used our project hashtag #loveyourshelfie for the books I found (of course), but – because I really like taking shelfies – I still took a few photos in places where I didn’t find books and used the hashtag #no50books instead. Feel free to do the same if you decide to go on a book quest of your own.

One thing that all my quests had in common was that I had a lot of fun doing them. I mean, who doesn’t like a good quest? Finding one of the books on the list became incredibly satisfying: so much so that, after dragging my mum on a quest around my hometown of Kiama on the South Coast of NSW, she got just as addicted as me. The next day, when we were supposed to be cooking for our enormous family meal on Christmas Eve, we went out questing in the nearby municipalities of Shellharbour and Warilla instead. You can see what we found in the fifth Storify below.

My mum’s not a romance reader (although I did turn her on to Betty Neels over the holidays). So if you’re not a romance reader either, never fear. All you need to go on a book quest is our list of fifty books and the drive to hunt them down!

– Jodi

Jodi’s book quests

Quest #1: Marrickville and Dulwich Hill

Quest #2: Ashfield

Quest #3: Sydney CBD and Newtown

Quest #4: Kiama

Quest #5: Shellharbour and Warilla