Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bookstores in Toronto

Since I live close to Toronto, I do a bookstore circuit regularly. The Annex area (Bloor and Bathrust) is a good starting point. One of my favorite stores is D M Mirvish Books on Markham Street. If you are looking for a big coffee-table book as a gift, this is the place. This store specializes in art books but it has a fairly good collection of other books as well. In additional to the incredible bargains you can find, the staff is very knowledgeable and helpful. The store front does not look that great but don`t let that fool you.
I just found out this bookstore is closing as of this Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009. There still be an online version of the store but how can one replace a couple hours in a bookstore with a website!

A couple of doors next to DM is Ballenford Books on Architecture. As the name implies, it specializes on architecture books. It has a quite an extensive collection. I didn`t find too many bargains there though.

Across the street from Ballenford is Beguiling. This is the place to go if you are looking for the latest comics, magna, anime or graphic novels. Personally, I haven`t able to finish a magna yet. I find the page literally jumping out at me and I can`t concentrate from one panel to another. However, judging from the number of shoppers and the very extensive inventory, if you are into this genre, you probably know about this bookstore already.

Book City is a just a short walk from Beguiling. They have two other stores in Toronto -- one in Bloor Street West and the other one in the Beaches. This is the place to pick up some real bargains. Its paperback collection is fairly good too. If you have time, go upstairs and check out you may find some gems. The staff is friendly and some of them are fairly knowledgeable as well
You will also find a number of good coffee shops around this area.

Toronto is a fairly good city for book lovers. In addition to the above stores, The World`s Biggest Bookstore (one block north of Dundas between Yonge and Bay) is a good place to go if you are looking for more academic books. It may have been the world`s biggest bookstore at one time but it certainly not anymore.
Further south near the lake on Front Street, Nicholas Hoare is a beautiful store with very knowledgeable staff. Several times a year, Nicholas Hoare hosts a Books & Brunch at the Vanity Fair Ballroom, King Edward Hotel.
Another good academic bookstore is the University Toronto`s Bookstore which is located on College Street just east of Spadina Ave.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My Top-10 bookstores

Ironically, I am missing many photos of my top-10 bookstores on this blog. I do have some of them in slides. It is just a matter of finding the right tray and scanning them. It will be a project for a later day. Of course, I can always go back to visit them again.

1. Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, France
2. Strand in New York City, NY
3. Swindon in Hong Kong
4. Blackwell in Oxford, England
5. David Mirvish Books in Toronto, ON
6. Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, MA
7. Gotham Bookmart, New York City, NY
8. Trident Booksellers in Halifax, NS and in Boston, MA
9. Cave's Bookstore in Taipei, Taiwan
10. The Bookstore in Toulouse, France

Bookstores in Michigan

I know I took these photos in Michigan, in the summer of 2005 I only wish I could remember where! Anyone? Anyone?

Bookstores in Connecticut

I was travelling in this area in August, 2006. In addition to a number of good independent bookstores in Connecticut, there are several good book related places to visit. You can find Mark Twain House right next to Harriet Beecher Stowe's Center. Noah Webster's homestead is about a five-minute drive from these two houses.

As for bookstores, I didn't find too many in Hartford, Bookworms is on the west end of Hartford.

Atticus is in middle of the Yale campus in New Haven, CT. This is a good place to browse for books and get a cup of espresso at the same time.

Just outside of the port of Mystic, CT, you will find the Rarely Used Books. You will find the Mystic Pizza in the port of Mystic.

Bookstores in Perth-Huron County, Ontario

The city of Stratford, Ontario is the home of the Stratford Festival. It is about an hour drive west of Toronto. The downtown of Stratford has a number of stores including several independent bookstores.

You can be sure to find a sale table on the sidewalk outside of The Book Vault most of the time; okay maybe not in the winter.

In addition to the regular inventory, you can find many sales books at Fanfare. If you are buying a lot of books, they will even let you go down to the baseball to check out their stock.

Callan Books on York Street is run by a knowledgeable and friendly proprietor. Not a big store but he will find that special book for you.

The town of Bayfield is located on the shore of Lake Huron. Several years ago, the National geographic has names Lake Huron as one of the best places in the world to watch sunsets. In the summer time, this is a very popular spot with the folks from the city. You will find this small store on one of the side streets.

Bookstores in Saint-Pierre

Saint-Pierre is a tiny island off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada. However, Saint-Pierre & Miquelon are officially part of France. Along with two friends, we took a ferry from Fortune, NL to Saint-Pierre in July 2005. We had a lovely, but expensive if you included the ferry's fares, French lunch at the Hotel Roberto. While strolling around the small island, I came across the following two bookstores.

Bookstores in Macau

Macau is an enclave about 40 miles, an hour of hydrofoil, west of Hong Kong. It was a Portuguese colony until its return to China in 1999. The Historic Centre of Macau has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2005.
For a small place, Macau has several interesting small bookstores. The following photos were taken during March March, 2006

Bookstores in Boston area

One of my favorite cities in North America is Boston because of the number of bookstores and the wonderful Italian food in the North End. Sadly, like many other cities in North America, the number of independent bookstores have declined in the past several years. However, there are still many excellent ones, especially around Harvard Square in Cambridge just across the Charles River from Boston.

Trident Booksellers & Cafe is a great stop anytime of the day. It is located in the trendy Newbury Street, a few minutes walk from the lovely Boston Public Library. Coincidentally, there is another Trident Booksellers & Cafe in Halifax, NS. I have no idea if they are owned by the same company.

The city of Cambridge, MA is home to a number of excellent independent bookstores including the Harvard Co-op. If you find yourself in Harvard Square, look for the free Bookstores around Harvard Square pamphlet. You can easily spend a couple of days visiting them. I will add more photos to this section after I visit Cambridge next time.
Not only does Harvard Book Store has some real bargains, it also hosts a regular reading by well known authors.

Concord, MA is a quaint little town about 3o-minute drive west of Cambridge. The town is of course rich with American revolutionary history. Just steps from the town, you will find the famous North Bridge. A few miles down the road is where the Minutes Man National Park is located. Walden Pond is also close by and it is definitely worth a visit especially during the off season.

For a little town, it has two independent bookstores.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bookstores in Wisconsin

Madison is the capital of Wisconsin. It is a university town. Hence, there are a number of independent bookstores. If you find yourself in Madison, definitely take the short drive to Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's estate in Spring Green, WI. The following photos were taken during a road trip in the Thanksgiving weekend in 2006.

The Shakespeare's Bookstore is a few steps away from the State Capitol in Madison, WI.

J Taylor's specializes in rare and out-of-print book. It is located on 18 North Carroll Street, Madison.

Avol's Bookstore is another bookstore dealing with rare and out-of-print books. It is located at 315 W. Gorham Street, Madison.

A Room of One's Own is another used bookstore in Madison.

Paul's Books is a used bookstore located at 670 State Street, Madison.

This place advertizes itself as Bed, Book & Breakfast

The following two bookstores are located in Cedarburg, WI. Cedarbury is a historic town about 20 minutes North of Milwaukee.

Bookstores in Vermont

The following three photos were taken in August, 2006 while I travelled through Vermont. There are a number of Robert Frost related sites that worth visiting. Vermont is a beautiful state any time of the year.

This used bookstore has a sizeable collection of anti-war materials. I think it is the back entry to Otter Books, Middlebury, VT.

Front entry to Otter Creek Books, Middlebury, VT.

The Vermont Book Shop on main street Middlebury, VT.

The following photos were taken in May 2005 when I visited my friend Mark Keffer in Vermont. Mark used to teach with me at Waterloo-Oxford but has moved to beautiful Vermont several years ago. Currently, he is teaching in Montpelier, the capitol of Vermont. Incidentally, Montpelier is the smallest capital city in the United States.

The Bear Pond Books is located in downtown Montpelier.

The Riverndell Books in Montpelier, VT.

The North Country is a lovely, quiet bookstore in Burlington, Vt.

The Crow Bookstore is located in downtown Montpelier.

The Book Garden is another bookstore in Montpelier

Bookstores in Grey-Bruce County, Ontario

A couple of weekends ago, on a glorious, sunny, Fall day, I took a drive around the Grey County in search of small, independent bookstores. Sadly, with the advent of mega-stores, there are fewer and fewer independent stores left in the market. The following are the photos of the stores:

This bookstore in on Hwy #6 in the town of Clavering (Bruce County). It has been around for awhile because I remember seeing in many years ago. I had originally put down the name of Chatsworth by mistake. Someone was kind enough to email me to correct that information, thanks. Also, she said the rooms upnstairs are said to be haunted.

The Phoenix Books is located at 980 2nd Ave. in downtown Owen Sound. There used to be another bookstore not too far from Phoenix but it has been closed recently.

The Pontypridd is located on the main street of the town of Durham. It is named after a town in Wales. I had a nice chat with the owner, talking about the love of books.