Thursday 28 February 2008

Toronto's best kept secret indeed

I spent some time today working-ish in the Toronto Reference Library at Yonge and Bloor. While attempting to intelligently consider my thesis introduction revisions, my thoughts were interrupted by an announcement on the library's God-sized intercom.

This announcement, which quickly began to sound something like the singing of angels to me, informed me that there is a used bookstore located inside the library on the first floor. My heart was, as a result, all aflutter and I got through my work knowing I would soon be rewarded with a trip to this hitherto unknown source of cheap books.

The store is called Book Ends South (there is another store at the North York Central Library called Book Ends) and it is exceedingly small. (It proclaims itself, on the flyer the woman gave me, to be "Toronto's best kept secret!" I'm inclined to agree.) Run by what I assume is a volunteer group called Friends of the Toronto Public Library, Book Ends South features books donated by patrons and books retired from active library service - and all usually for $1 a piece!

The fiction and literature sections are small but the woman there informed me that as books are purchased, more are brought up from storage to fill the spaces. All the money raised in the Book Ends stores is donated to library programs. Now that's a mandate I can get behind - as is paying $1 per book.

You will be surprised to hear that I didn't go completely insane and buy half their stock. No, I spent only $3 today for I realized this is the kind of place one should visit frequently to scan for difficult to find books. Hooray for Book Ends South!


Anonymous said...

This is like a reverse Walmart -- I never want to go to Walmart, I certainly never want to go often, it is ubiquitous, and I hate it.

Although I guess Wallmart aslo has book, so there s a minor similarity.

Dull Mental Racket said...

I finished 'The Road'. Sorry to say I rather enjoyed it ...

The book is sort of light on plot, but the relationship between the father and son kept me interested, as did a lot of the more tense moments. The son's characterization in particular was really well done, I thought. He just really comes off as a child would.He wasn't hyper-intelligent or full or great truths, just acted like I think a child would and carried a innocence that bounced well off his father's 'anything to survive' rashness.

Few things I'll agree with... his metaphors and "social commentary"/"scenery introspections" are pretty heavy handed. I'm sure Trent Reznor just giggles with delight over some of the lines Cormack comes up with :). The baby eating was a little much too, although I like your Swift reference.

The punctuation (or lack there of) is sort of a 'stand it' or 'cant stand it' thing (see what I did there?). It's hard to point out exactly what it does for his work as its an device he carries through all his novels, not just for effect in one narrative. I thought it was pretty funny how he'd skip an apostrophe for some contractions and leave it in for others. Like how is 'dont' fine, but 'theyd' really crosses the line.

I think he just wants his writing to be as unadorned as possible-- lacking any flourish. This gives his works a sort of base, honest and direct delivery. A cynical reader might call it a "forced attempt at sincerity" or something similar:). An astute and critical reader might even suggest that this destroys the whole point of his sincerity (can sincerity that conscious still be sincere?), but I didn't really let it get to me. Lots of emotional poetry hits pretty hard but is, at the core, laboriously manipulated and deviously crafted.

I might come up with more after the book's rattled around my head for a bit. But I did enjoy it.

Bookphilia said...

Don't apologize for liking The Road! I didn't write my post on it like I did to try to convince people not to like it. I just wouldn't be moved by others insisting I should like it.

I think my husband would agree that the son was well done and while I don't completely agree, I will say he was better done than the father.

I like your explanation for the punctuation problem and think you might be right. Whether it works or not is I guess up to each individual. Thanks for reading and posting!