In Lawrence Kasdan’s Silverado (one of my favourite films), Kevin Klein admits to Linda Hunt that “A good smelly saloon is my favourite place in the world.” I don’t think I’ve ever been in a saloon, although I do fancy a good pub—preferably one that’s not overly fragrant. Two other favourite haunts are classic hardware stores and local independent bookshops.
The Home Hardware just a few blocks from my house is, I hope, not a dying breed. It’s a true neighbourhood shop, not far removed from a general store with its selection of tools, bird feeders, small kitchen appliances, and window glass cut to size. And they welcome dogs, which is handy when Fido needs to point out the specific cordless screwdriver he wants for Christmas.
My neighbourhood has been stripped of most of its bookstores in recent decades. Not too long ago we had a couple of excellent used bookstores, as well as Prime Crime (a mystery book shop), Britton’s and Octopus. Only the latter remains, a tiny little gem of a store on Third Avenue just west of Bank Street. Rockliffe/New Edinburgh/Vanier has Books on Beechwood, Old Ottawa East has Singing Pebble, and Centretown has Perfect Books.
This Saturday, May 2, 2015, is Authors for Indies day in Canada. I’m not sure whose idea it was, but it’s a great opportunity for those who write books to thank the small local bookstores that sell them. Authors (well known and obscure) will be haunting the isles in bookstores across the country on Saturday, meeting shoppers, talking up their books and reinforcing the vital importance of independent book shops.
Take a few minutes to drop into one or more of your local bookstores this Saturday. Ask for a book recommendation or just say hello. I’ll be the obscure author at Perfect Books on Elgin Street from noon to 3:00. Hope to see you then.