Monthly Archives: January 2014

Ode to a bookstore

I had a customer tell me she loved me.  I had a customer tell me that we had the best customer service she had ever seen.  I had a customer throw a temper tantrum because I wouldn’t sell her store supplies.  I had a customer yell “this is contributing to the pussification of our children!”  I’m not sure how to spell pussification.  Someone who believed that the earth had stopped spinning.  A senior who had decided to dive back into the world after her husband’s death, starting with taking every free class she could find.  Attempted fraud and adults sitting on tiny, tiny furniture.  Dancing in the aisles and impromptu singalongs.  Shouting, laughter.  Food.  Lots, and lots, and lots of caffeine.

Oh bookstore, I love you.


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Filed under Books, General Awesomeness, Retail

Into The Abyss

I literally just finished reading Into the Abyss by Carol Shaben and sat right down to write the review, which would come as no surprise to many of my colleagues who are no doubt sick of hearing about it.
It is the true story of a small plane crash in 1984 in northern Alberta, written by the daughter of one of the survivors.
At the beginning of the story we are introduced to characters that start out to be stereotypes (the politician, the Mountie, the prisoner and the pilot), however Shaben does an exceptional job fleshing out each man and the relationship they developed between them.  The first half of the book describes the lead up to the disaster up until the four survivors are rescued.  After that the author focuses on how each man changes his life as a result of his experience; like how the pilot eventually overcame his crippling guilt, or how the once career driven Mountie gave up everything in his years-long search for connection and meaning.
This book also had a very Canadian sensitivity for me.  The author talked about the push for small airlines to connect remote northern communities to the rest of the country and the bush pilots that flew these dangerous routes; the rise of a premier who changed the relationship between the federal and provincial governments where oil and gas resources are concerned; beautiful descriptions of environments across western Canada — and come on, there was a Mountie!
Well written and a great story.  I loved it.

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Filed under Authors, Books, Non-Fiction, Review

I’m Baaaack

Having apocalyptic weather pretty much creates reading time, since it’s a leisure activity you can do without power or heat.   I’ve read a few great books of varying genres, which have helped me keep what little sanity I have left.

I love, love Alan Bradley’s character, Flavia De Luce. If you haven’t started this wonderful mystery series, do so now.  A young chemist whose passion is poison, an old estate, and a series of dead people make for beautifully written, highly addictive books.  The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie is the first one.  The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches is the most recent, and just as great as the first, which doesn’t always happen.

The Impossible Knife of Memory is a YA title, but definitely isn’t just for teens.  Hayley Kincaid has been on the road with her truck-driver father for years.  They have returned to their hometown so Hayley can attend high school.  Her father, Andy, is struggling with steadily worsening PTSD, a legacy of his service in Iraq.  Hayley is taking care of her father, while hiding the truth of his condition from everyone else, trying to preserve their independence.

A wonderful, wonderful story, funny and sad and dead on.

I have been re-reading the Chronicles of Elantra series, by Michelle Sagara.  A combination of epic fantasy and police procedural, this is one of my favorite fantasy series, and I own every single one.  Michelle Sagara West is a fellow book-seller and Torontonian (Bakka Phoenix, you should visit it if you’re in town), so I feel happy supporting her.  She also writes as Michelle West.

More soon, and happy (non-apocalyptic) reading.




Filed under Books, Bookstore, Review, Teen Books