Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7


My neighbourhood isn't one of the more vibrant neighbourhoods in the city – centred around the mid-town stretch of Yonge Street, populated by mid-rise office buildings and the chain stores that provide caffeine to the people who work in them, it's certainly no Leslieville or Roncesvalles or Corso D'Italia. But it does boast a few hidden gems – a decent health food store, a wood-fired bagel place, and a Book City. And boy, I love that book store.

Earlier this year, when one Toronto book store after another was closing down until it seemed we might soon not have any at all, I decided that I was finished with ordering books online or from stores that seem more interested in selling tchochkes than novels. So these days I find myself at the Book City once or twice a week, for one thing or another.

It's not a big store, but they've got a great magazine selection and they've been doing a good job of feeding my Shakespeare habit, and I'm confident they'll never deliver my purchase by drone strike. The staff members occasionally sport Doctor Who t-shirts (always a good thing, in my opinion), have definite opinions about the best sushi in the neighbourhood, and are always happy to recommend a picture book or track down an esoteric title – they special-ordered both Mo's Mustache and the new Beowulf translation for me without blinking an eye. (OK, not quite: I should have specified that Mo's Mustache is a kid's book a bit earlier in the conversation. Ahem.)

I like ordering books from them because it means I'm supporting a local business, because I enjoy the chats we have about what I'm buying, and because there's something about the wait – and attendant anticipation – that means I enjoy the book more when it finally arrives. But it was just today, when I was there to order a copy of The Subversive Stitch, that I realized that what I really like about ordering books from my local bookstore is that when they take my order info, they always spell my name right – their default is "Austen, like Jane," not "Austin, like Texas." I love that.

(Now, if only they could get the message across to the kids at Starbucks...)

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