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February 5, 2012

Our Saturday Morning Book Crawl

On Friday, I read about the opening of Sellers & Newal, a new bookstore on College Street, and then hatched a plan for a Saturday morning book crawl. In order to make a “Saturday morning book crawl” attractive to my husband, I mapped out a route that involved stopping at Sam James Coffee Bar, and breakfast at the Lakeview. It was a sunny, gorgeous morning and felt just like springtime. The walk down to Dundas and Ossington was particularly lovely because we hadn’t seen the sun in ages.

After breakfast, we walked west on Dundas to The Monkey’s Paw, where I’d never been before but had heard so much about. It’s a bookstore of secondhand curiosities, and if we hadn’t had a monster child in tow (with a case of the “nearly-threes”), we could have browsed for ages. Highlights included vintage cookery books, a wall of Penguins, Toronto-health pamphlets on baby-rearing from the ’40s, a book by Shari Lewis on making puppets and several old typewriters whose Hs Harriet wanted to press. Old atlases, books about UFOs, goatherding and sex. The air was marvelously redolent with dustiness and books— “something smells funny in here,” was how Harriet so charmingly put it as soon as we walked in the door. I ended up getting a copy of Dennis Lee’s Garbage Delight, which I’d never read before but it turns out to be the best of all wonderful his picture book. (My favourite poem inside is “Worm”.)

Then we went to the new store, Sellers & Newal, and I browsed while Harriet (who had decided she wouldn’t wear shoes) was held captive in her stroller, and read to from Garbage Delight by her father. So many cool books here, and not much dust because the store is brand new (as well as bright and airy). Lots of good Canadian fiction, books on advertising, typography and graphic design, a set of Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books, affordable paperbacks, collectable hardcovers, and a shelf that was built out of a coffin. Oh my! I was happy to get a copy of Steven Heighton’s essay collection The Admen Move on Lhasa.

And then finally to Balfour Books at their excellent dust-free, light-filled location near College and Bathurst. Which is where my family won the Patience Prize as they sat up at the front near the door (you can see them in the picture) and not once asked me if I was done yet. And because they were so considerate, I did my best to be done as yet as possible. I finally got my hands on a copy of Robertson Davies’ The Rebel Angels, which my friend Patricia has recommended, because she says that those of us who only read Fifth Business in high school don’t know Robertson Davies at all.

And by then it was nearly naptime, so to home. Harriet was wished good dreams, and I curled up on the couch and read and read and read (and knit).

6 thoughts on “Our Saturday Morning Book Crawl”

  1. JK says:

    Kerry, I love that I could easily do this book crawl since we live so close. And after this lovely description, I think I will! Thanks for mapping out the journey!

  2. Julia says:

    This sounds lovely! I’ve never been to Lakeview… looks delicious. A friend of mine owns Sellers and Newell! (He’s Sellers…) Funny — we were there on Saturday too!

  3. Dani says:

    Love Admen. Such a good book.

  4. Sandra says:

    Ahh….Sam James and the Lakeview….all that’s missing is Saturday afternoon bluegrass at the Dakota!

    Fun browsing bookstores. I have a Kobo that I use a lot but I still read paper books too.

  5. Oh man, The Rebel Angels is incredible. I’m kind of jealous; I want to read it for the first time again.

    Also, your Saturday book crawl basically maps my near-daily walking routes. I’m pretty sure you must’ve passed by my house.

    1. Kerry says:

      I thought of you, Emily, when I walked past Vivoli, because I remember you live-tweeting its fire, and presumed I was in your neighbourhood. Which only underlined the bookishness of the whole affair!

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