July 24, 2013

World of Books: Melissa + Victoria, British Columbia

Everyone has their neighborhood bookstore or their local library they call home. Maybe both even. I know I do - in TWO different cities. World of Books if a bi-weekly feature that allows me - and any of YOU - to share the bookstores and libraries you love so much. If you want to be featured on World of Books too, make sure to go HERE and fill out the contact form!

This week on WORLD OF BOOKS I bring you Melissa and Victoria, British Columbia.

When I first saw Gaby's World of Books feature, I just KNEW that I had to share my hometown bookish spots -- especially because of the memories that they evoke for me.

I grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, which is located on Vancouver Island, just off the west coast of Canada. Victoria is a small-ish city (about 350,000 people), but it has a small-town feeling because of the fact that it's located on an island. I adored growing up surrounded by the ocean and still miss being a mere 10 minutes from the water.

The first spot that I've chosen to share with you is Bolen Books, Western Canada's largest independent bookstore. Although I love getting great book deals at Chapters, there's just something wonderful about a local independent bookstore. Sure, you have to pay full price for a book, but you know that you're not just feeding the corporate machine.

I started working at Bolen Books during the fall of 2003 as a means of paying for my last couple of years of university. Since it's a locally-owned family business, there's definitely a community feeling amongst the staff there, and everyone really loves their job. The two years that I spent working there were amazing, and I even met my husband in the aisles of the store! He was a customer, who came in looking for a book about cats. He returned many, many times, each time stopping to say hi and chatting for a while, until one day he asked me out. Five years later, he took me back to the same spot in the bookstore, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Of course I said yes, and three years later, we're happily married with a baby boy of our own -- who's going to grow up to be a reader as well!

(Our full how-we-met story is here)

As I mentioned earlier, I love getting deals on books -- so it's no surprise that I have a fondness for used bookstores! (Although I am a little picky about the quality of book that I purchase in a used bookstore... no stained, smelly books for this girl!) Whenever hubby and I make the trip back to Victoria, we ALWAYS stop in at Russell Books. It's a used bookstore that's in TWO PARTS. The downstairs section is filled to the ceiling with a huge selection of non-fiction and gifty items (journals, calendars and the like) as well as a MASSIVE children's/YA section. Then, you go out of the bookstore and up a really narrow set of stairs next door to the HUGE fiction section. I could spend days in that store, just browsing up and down the aisles. They also sell a lot of new books, but at great discounted prices. Plus, last time we were there, they had a buy 4 get 1 free on all fiction paperbacks... we came home with LOTS of new books!

Victoria is also filled with lots of great reading spots. As I mentioned earlier, it's on an island, so where better to read than by the beach! This photo was taken in December along Dallas Road, so it's a little gray and overcast, but when the sun is shining on the ocean, there's really no place better to be. Plus, there's a great walkway that goes all along Dallas Road and the path is always filled with moms and strollers, people and dogs, rollerbladers and bikers.

I graduated with a B.A. from the University of Victoria, and spent many happy hours reading on the lawn in the centre of campus. In the summertime, there's a big fountain in the centre and it's so peaceful to read to the sound of the rushing water as students stroll by on their way to and from classes.

Plus, someone let loose some bunnies in years gone by and, well, bunnies do what bunnies do and now there are a whole bunch of wild bunnies that reside on campus.

1 comment:

  1. These spots are so cool! I'm especially a big fan of the reading spots, as I love reading outdoors when the weather is nice. Thanks for sharing with us Melissa!


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