A customer in the store yesterday was telling me about her goldfish, and how it had its own Facebook page. This was moderately cute until I realized that she was telling me that her goldfish told her what to type, and that obviously it couldn’t do it itself without a waterproof computer. Because clearly, that’s the only impediment to fishy bloggers – the lack of good waterproofing. Cue backing away slowly, as she is telling me about her plans to mic the aquarium and live stream (no pun intended) her talking fish… On a different note, I had a customer who told me he had no idea Nelson Mandela was a member of the Illuminati. Why did they think he was a member of the Illuminati, you may ask? Because of the Coretta Scott King award on the cover of Kadir Nelson’s children’s book, Nelson Mandela. Sigh.
Category Archives: Bookstore
Hey fellow book peeps, I need your advice! I will be visiting BC soon, and would like to hear your tips on which bookish destinations are not to be missed. Libraries, bookstores, book-themed cafes… I will try to get to as many as I can.
I will be spending time in Vancouver, Victoria, and Nanaimo. I promise to post photos of my visit.
Looking forward to hearing your ideas!
What are the big books this summer? And why should you care?
Well, one of the things that gets people reading, adults included, is recommendations. If kids are hearing their friends talking about this book, and once they are reading it can talk about it, how great is that? It makes a love of reading something they share, and how many times have you felt a bond with someone because they, too, adored a book dear to your heart?
With that in mind, I’ll share some of the titles that are really hot at my store right now, some of which are excellent reads, and feel free to pick them up for yourself, or steal the book when your kid is done with it. Or before, I won’t judge you.
Target age: 9-12
This book didn’t arrive on time in-store – which was the cause of much consternation in my household. My younger daughter is an evangelist for The Land of Stories series, dragging them with her everywhere she goes and forcing other people to read them. They’re very good, bringing to mind classics like Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz, mixing fairytales with real life, the bizarre alongside the mundane. And yes, it’s the Chris Colfer who plays Kurt on Glee who is the author – he really needs to save some talent for other people. A Grimm Warning is the third book in the series, and it’s worth getting them in hardcopy instead of an e-book because of the maps and illustrations in the cover.
Target age 13+, and I really mean the plus
I loved the Divergent trilogy – and Veronica Roth didn’t wuss out on the ending either, unlike the Hunger Games. Four is a series of short stories that take place before the Divergent trilogy, centred around Four’s life before Tris. This can be read as a present for current fans craving more, or as a prologue to the main trilogy for new readers. Good beach reading for everyone, and if you haven’t read the original trilogy, summer is a great time to start.
This trilogy, of which the first two are now out, is a kind of interesting twist on the fairytale theme that’s huge right now in this age group. Every year, two girls or two boys are chosen to attend the school of Good and Evil. One is trained to be a hero, the other a villain. When two best friends are chosen, one golden-haired and sweet, and the other dark haired, odd, and fond of goth-y clothes, they know who’s going where. Their own self-concepts are thrown into disarray when the golden-haired girl is sent to the school of evil, and the goth-in-training is sent to the school of good. This book is flying off the shelves, and anything that shakes up thinking is great by me.
Target age: 13+
I will admit now, that I haven’t read this trilogy, and may not. I am not always in the mood for romance and frou frou dresses. Sometimes, though, that’s exactly what you want, and this series seems to fill that need for teens and adults alike quite nicely. A sort of dystopian version of The Bachelor, the series started with The Selection, where thirty-five girls were in an elimination competition for the crown, and marriage to the prince. The competition is winnowed down through the second book, and now in the third, The One is America Singer’s (cringing at the name) final chance to win the
Miss America Pageant heart of Prince Maxon, and the crown. If you are looking for a frillier version of the Hunger Games, this is it.
I adore Mercedes Lackey, and read pretty much everything she writes. I am currently reading this series she is writing with Rosemary Edghill, a kind of Mystery at the Academy trope, but with enough interesting twists to keep it from being formulaic. Spirit White (hippie parents) ends up at an orphanage after she is the only member of her family to survive a car accident. She finds out once she arrives there that every single person at the orphanage has magic – except apparently her. The orphanage – Oakhurst Academy, is run like a private school for the very rich, with the added curriculum of learning to defend yourself, both physically and with magic, against evil mages who could attack at any minute.
It doesn’t contain as much of Lackey’s signature ironic humour as I would like, but it has enough of it to make reading it enjoyable, and smarter than many teen series, since the kids in it don’t just swallow down everything they’re told and do some of their own investigating. Like a magical Nancy Drew.
Target: 13+ (again, I mean the plus)
Kelley Armstrong is always a really fun read. I loved her Women of the Otherworld series, I am impatiently waiting for the sequel to Omens to come out, and so I was delighted when this arrived, if for no other reason than I think the cover will be my next tattoo.
A really solid, epic fantasy, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn live on the edge of the Forest of the Dead, where the worst criminals are exiled. Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and the Seeker – charged with keeping the souls of the damned quiet – no easy task. This year, the souls will not be quieted – and a great evil ambushes the girls, separating them from eachother and their home, the beginning of their quest to find eachother again, and warn the emperor of what is awakening.
This is book one – I really need to cut down on the number of series I’m reading. Or only read series that are finished. Haha, like that’s going to happen. Sigh.
Oh, and as a bonus for you guys, right now I’m reading Warslayer, by Rosemary Edghill, which is a FREE download on Kobo. Imagine Lucy Lawless getting kidnapped by aliens who think she’s actually Xena and will save them all. It’s silly fun, and perfect for the patio and a cold drink.
Happy summer reading!
One of the greatest benefits to working in a bookstore is the amazing and eccentric coworkers. Today, one of my coworkers wrote a poem based on my incredulity at the cover of Toronto Life Magazine – A photo of duck and blueberry pancakes, which my mind won’t process. Here is the poem:
There once was a duck
Who ran into some bad luck
When I drenched her in maple syrup.
There’s a duck on my pancake!
What a surprise!
I was only expecting a side order of fries!!
I love my job so much.
Poem credit to Alisha Fournier 😉
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.
It’s the final curtain for the iconic Chapters bookstore in Toronto, often in the top ten lists of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
There was a lot of controversy when Chapters bought the old Runnymede theatre, but instead of bulldozing it they renovated it, restoring the building to its former glory and creating a shopping experience beyond belief. I published a blog post a long time ago, wishing I could work there, since a supposedly haunted bookstore in an old theatre sounds straight out of a Nancy Drew novel.
The reason it’s closing, however, makes me pretty damned angry. I refer you to this article by Lisa Rainford, Torstar News:
“It’s a great store that’s served the neighbourhood incredibly well,” said Drew McGowen, vice-president of real estate and development at Chapters Indigo. “We’re at the end of our lease and the landlord can get far, far more money than we are able to pay.”
Since its opening in November 1999, Toronto’s commercial and housing real estate market has experienced “such a boom,” McGowen said. Chapters must vacate the premises by March 31, 2014, however, McGowen could not confirm when the store would be closed to the public. As for its employees, they have been notified and all will be relocated to other stores, he said.
“I want to offer our greatest, greatest thank you for your loyalty,” McGowen said, speaking to Chapters’ customers. “We hope you’ll stay with us as our customer even though we’re moving out of that immediate market. We hope you’ll still shop with us.”
McGowen called the store “an icon.” Its architecture and heritage “goes hand-and-hand with a bookstore.”
“The neighbourhood is so fantastic. It’s a store that has little to no parking, but people walk to it all the time. They’re so loyal,” he said.
He said he suspects the store won’t close quietly. Not if local resident and frequent Chapters customer Gwen O’Connell, who has lived in the Bloor West Village for 27 years, has her way.
“It’s really sad for the community,” said O’Connell, who knows some of the local Chapters employees. “It’s a historical building and (Chapters) maintained its dignity and history. It’ll be extremely sad to see it go.”
People from all walks of life rely on Chapters as a community hub, O’Connell said.
“It’s an integral part of our neighbourhood,” she said, recalling a recent visit by acclaimed local boxer George Chuvalo, who attracted as many as 200 people to the store for a signing of his new book, ‘Chuvalo: A Fighter’s Life: The Story Of Boxing’s Last Gladiator.’
Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette had just been informed of the news. If Chapters does indeed vacate the property, the councillor said she would hope that any new tenant would maintain the interior of the former theatre. Its exterior is protected by a heritage designation, she said.
According to rumblings in the neighbourhood, O’Connell said she’s heard a large-scale pharmacy is looking to relocated to the building.
In 1999, Chapters redeveloped the old theatre, the “Runny” as it was affectionately called, into a bookstore while keeping the cinema’s atmospheric interior intact. Built in June, 1927, the vaudeville theatre – designed to transport patrons to exotic places – was the first of its kind in Toronto. Designed by Alfred Chapman, it was known for its music and stage shows and could seat as many as 1,400 people. The ceiling was painted to depict a blue sky with puffy clouds; its complex lighting system projected a starry night and airplanes.
The atmospheric-style theatre is one of only three left in Canada.
So, there you have it. It’s being closed because of the property owner’s greed. Visit while you can, because the interior does not have to be left intact by the new tenant. I honestly can’t imagine how a pharmacy would manage to do the beautiful space justice.
As a side note, don’t forget to submit your questions for my interview with Roberta Rich! The most interesting ones will be used. You can post to my blog, contact me via my Twitter account @Bibliophiliacs , or the Bibliophiliacs facebook page.