June 23rd, 2010

Saving This Ain’t

If you live in Toronto and like books, you’ve probably been to This Ain’t the Rosedale Library for a launch or a reading, because they had something in stock no one else had, or just to shop. They used to be on Church Street, in a sizeable space with a room on the second floor for events. Then rent got steep and they moved to a cheaper spot in Kennsington, where they are now. Of course, Kennsington is getting posher by the day, and rents are going up and the past few years (or so) have been tough on purveyors of the written word. So Charlie and Jesse Huisken, the father-son team who run cash register, stock the shelves, organize the events and chat with the customers, fell behind in their rent. And the landlord changed the locks.

That’s where it was announced that I’d won the Metcalf-Rooke Award, and I read there once before too (December 2008). I don’t know the Huiskens personally, but that makes their kindness all the more impressive–they are endlessly supportive of writers and the lit community because they love it. They are forever opening the store to events (remember the poetry vending machine? the Vagabond Trust readings?), donating raffle prizes, and coming out in support of readings in other venues.

A good bookstore is more than just well-stocked shelves–it is a literary community. As a citizen of that community, I’ve finally worked out the baffling mysteries of PayPal to send This Ain’t the Rosedale Library some cash. If you love the store, and can afford to give, please do so.


Unrelated PS–You probably haven’t noticed the difference (I don’t think there’s much difference to notice) but this post is coming at you in WordPress 3.0 and the site is all updated now, safer from hacks and viruses and other scary things I don’t understand. Thanks, Stuart!

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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