Authors for Indies is upon us! This Saturday, May 2, 600 writers are going to be hanging out (lurking, one might say) in 100-plus independent bookstores across Canada. We’re there not just to bag and tag but to talk up our favourite titles and generally spread the indie bookstore love.
I’ll be at Type Books (883 Queen St. West) 10am-Noon, and U of T Bookstore (212 College St., St. George Campus), 1-3pm. I’ve already chosen my Must Read picks (sneak peek: Rachel Cusk, Jeff Lemire and…Ha! You’ll have to come to find out the rest, suckahs!) and would love to hear yours.
Now, a nostalgic pro-bookstore interlude: After a terrible first year of university, I dropped out, retreated to my hometown of Vancouver, and took a job at Blackberry Books. It’s still the best job I ever had. Being paid to talk and think about books, to handle and stack them and stealthily rearrange the displays to showcase my favourites… I was drunk with power! And I earned enough to backpack through Asia for many months, with a list of books I needed to read if I was ever going to survive this university thing. So I sucked back book after book, and eventually returned to school. There, I worked at the McGill Bookstore as a “bar code chick,” printing bar codes and hauling boxes in the windowless basement deep below the stacks. Second best job. I got excellent pecs, a discount on textbooks, and worked with the smartest, funniest people who ever dwelled beneath.
I just looked up Blackberry Books and it turns out it closed its doors last fall. When I worked the cash so long ago, there were three locations in Vancouver. We’ve all noticed the shrinking number of bookstores. So much thought and revelation is lost in their absence. Please come out on May 2 to support your local bookstore and meet some fantastic authors. What would we do without these places to grow us?