Monday 23 June 2008

If you're in Prince Edward Island and need good reads....

My husband and I just got back to the big stinky city after a week in lovely rural Prince Edward Island. Because I (irrationally, I know) fear an imminent book famine, I took 4 books along with me and read 3 of them (all kind of disappointing - see previous posts. Boo.).

But as I always do when on a trip away somewhere, I also went hunting for local bookstores. If Borat had been with me, he would have been proclaiming "Great success!" - Charlottetown features the latest addition to my list of favourite used book stores: The Bookman on Queen Street.

The Bookman is a literature lover's dream come true. It's heavy on the good stuff and extremely light on the crappy drugstore novels. They have a tonne of Victorian novels in their literature section, most of them in great shape. I picked up some P.G. Wodehouse and a 13th-century Sufi text called The Conference of the Birds. I think the proprietor found this combination of reading selections rather strange...

I love stores, like The Bookman, that have the shelves built so high that you need ladders everywhere. What you should also note in the above photo is the way most of the books are laying flat - thus making reading the books' titles infinitely easier. (I'm not fond of looking and feeling like a bunny with head tilt while book browsing but that's what generally happens - except here!)

The Bookman sells a lot of antiquarian books as well and if I were made of money I would have looked a lot harder at them. I wouldn't have been touching them, however - there were several well-placed signs warning me that even if I was, or imagined myself to be, a collector or bookseller I wasn't to touch the olde bookes unless I wanted the bodyguards to break my fingers and feed them to the madmen in Bedlam (or something to that effect). Warning duly noted. No improper book groping was perpetrated.

Just 4 doors down from The Bookman I discovered another used bookstore, the kind more likely to have drugstore mush for sale: The Book Emporium. The Book Emporium was, for me and my reading tastes, not an extremely exciting place but it did have some good things hiding out in its fiction section, including William Faulkner's Go Down, Moses, which I bought based on my friend Shelley's good authority.

If you like cheap Sci Fi novels, though, The Book Emporium is definitely a must-visit when you're in Charlottetown. (That said, I was disappointed that they didn't have Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I'm supposed to have a read-off with someone based on that book.)

We actually spent relatively little time in Charlottetown during our week in PEI, staying as we did in a little village called Victoria by the Sea. Victoria is incredibly tiny (3 by 3 streets) - and yet it, too, has a little bookstore, which is housed in Couch House Antiques.

I walked by the little door with BOOKS posted above it about 5(00?) times before I discovered it to be opened and then I rushed home to get my wallet and then rushed back again. The selection was quite sparse and too heavy on the Canadiana for my tastes but I did pick up a collection of short stories by Karen Blixen. (I was, uh, supporting the local economy. I didn't buy it for myself. Yeah.)

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