When I was a girl, my dad's law office was in Dominion Square Building, on the corner of Peel and Ste. Catherine Streets in downtown Montreal. On Saturday mornings, my dad sometimes let me tag along when he went to the office to do extra work. One reason I loved going was that he used to let me raid the supply closet -- I'd load up on pens and steno pads and because photocopy machines had not yet been invented, something called carbon paper. But the other reason was that on the Saturday mornings I went downtown with my dad, he'd always let me stop at W.H. Smith, the bookstore that for many years was located in the building's lobby. That's where my love of bookstores first began.
On Saturday, May 2, Authors for Indies comes to Canada. Begun by one of my favourite writers, Sherman Alexie, Authors for Indies is a way to support independent booksellers. At last count, 104 Canadian bookstores have arranged to participate. These stores will be hosting authors -- including me. For one day, we'll be volunteer booksellers, talking to customers about our favourite subject -- books, of course!
I'll be volunteering at two West Island bookstores that day. From 11 AM until 1 PM, I'll be at Librairie Clio. Other authors who'll be in-store that day include my friends Kit Brennan and P.J. Bracegirdle. Then from 2-4 PM, I'll be at Livres Babar in Pointe-Claire Village. Livres Babar has two locations -- the one in Pointe-Claire Village, and the other on Greene Avenue. We're still waiting to get the names of the other authors who'll be at the two Babar stores on May 2. The Babar stores are Montreal's only bookstores specializing in children's books... so you can understand why, over the years, I've become good friends with the Byers family, who own the stores, and with all of the stores' employees. In fact, I often run my story ideas by them!
Since the time I was a little girl, bookstores have always felt like home to me. In a bookstore, I can never be in a bad mood. There are too many books to look at, and flip through, and get hooked by... to be in a bad mood. I often tell my students that books -- both reading and writing them -- have saved my life. I know it sounds dramatic, but it's true. Books and bookstores, reading and writing are my safe place. So wherever you live in Canada or the United States, make a point of dropping by your local independent bookstore on May 2. Hey, don't forget to tell them I sent you!
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