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“I was in heaven!” Carina Greyling shares her experience of spending the night of her 60th birthday in Exclusive Books

By Mila de Villiers

One happy bibliophile granny!


Exclusive Books recently granted Carina Greyling her birthday dream of a lifetime – the 60 year old grandmother from Kempton Park was treated to spending a night in their Hyde Park branch! Carina’s daughter, Leeanne, mailed the bookstore asking whether they could realise her mother’s lifelong birthday wish of “being locked in an Exclusive Books for the night” and CEO Benjamin Trisk (who happens to share a birthday with Carina!) happily obliged. Here’s how she spent her night…

I’m curious to know what the first thing you did the moment your family left?

I looked around in wonder – I was amazed, overwhelmed and flabbergasted. Felt like I was in a dreamworld! My daughter, Leeanne, made me sit down on the bed and poured me a coffee so I could gather my thoughts!

What section did you make a bee-line for?

The new releases! Went back there about eight times.

How many books did you manage to read (or at least skim through)?

Not sure. I walked from shelf to shelf picking up and reading and moving on! Could be hundreds… Couldn’t decide what to read but eventually settled on a pile of about 30 books! Along with the books piled next to the bed of my favorite authors! Eventually I placed a shorter list of books on the bed to look through. I read half a Janet Evanovich book – and have asked Exclusive Books to hold onto six books for me which I can’t be without! Will be going back this weekend to get them!

Could you expand on what it’s like to have an entire bookstore to yourself?

Absolutely a dream come true! It was the most fantastic, exciting beautiful place I have ever been in. The smell of new books was unbelievable! Such a comfort and serenity – given an opportunity – I would live here forever and would never leave! Such a sanctuary – surrounded by 1000s of books was unbelievable! One night was way too short!

Was it ever slightly eerie?

Not at all! I was absolutely comfortable! Felt at home, at peace! Surrounded by my best, best friends in the world (books!) I’ve have never felt more at peace and safe in my whole life!

Or overwhelming (in the best, most epic sense of the word?)

The start was a bit overwhelming, but once the shock and excitement wore off, and I realized that this was my reality for the evening, being in the best place in the world, I was in heaven! Once I realized I could really stay there the whole night – I was so so happy and excited! I got stuck in straight away! Gulped down a cup of coffee and ran to the new releases section! Couldn’t wait to touch the books and read and explore! The snacks prepared by the chef were so delicious – I ate every single macaroon and cheesecake on the platter!

Did you do anything slightly frowned upon whilst perusing books? (Eg. sneakily eating, leafing through expensive magazines, etc…)

Aside from sitting in every couch I could, I just bee-lined to find my favorite books! I was so worried that I would run out of time exploring so I got stuck in! Kept thinking someone would come in and tell me I had to leave because the store was closed – but eventually realized I had the store to myself and started reading every cover I could! I had to pick so carefully because I really could’ve taken the whole store home!


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