Even though this has become an essay I have written it with you in mind. I have shared my passion for books with you whenever we cross paths and below is my plea…
Surely all of you who live in Toronto, or who live afar, or who have visited, or hoped to visit, or appreciate their local bookseller wherever they live, know the plight of our nation’s independent bookstores. You appreciate books and the people that bring them to you. Charlie and his son, Jessie, at This Ain’t the Rosedale Library have worked incredibly hard to share their popular and eclectic tastes in what has become a center for literary culture, book culture, reading, and art. They are now being threatened by closure. Read this link below for their immediately current and important story and donate, or visit them if they reopen and buy a book. London’s Guardian rated them as one of the TEN best bookstores in the world. These guys have helped you, someone you love or know, find a really amazing book that they wouldn’t have found otherwise, sold said friend or lover’s book, or held an event that enriched the lives of those around you, if not you directly. They carry my book and books I have made. They have sold me a handful of the very best books I have ever read, hands down.
Booksellers are an important and essential part of a thriving culture and community. They indicate the intellectual health of a culture. They are at the forefront of sharing the record of civilization and human understanding with anyone willing to look. When the people providing books begin to disappear then we know that books are soon after. Like an endangered species, our beloved booksellers provide rare and beautiful sights within us. In this day and age we might find our reading material elsewhere, in more digestible forms than books, like blogs, or news tickers, or headlines… If there is any time to buy a book the time is now. It’s summer. Didn’t you dream of curling up in the sun, or shade, or near the lake, or in your favorite chair with your favorite person, all while reading an amazing book, one that as your reading it you realize you want to read again and recommend, one that opens your eyes to a part of our world you knew little about, or were glad to have learned more about, or were just plain astounded with the human ability to spin dramatic tales and the even greater ability we have to suspend our disbelief, in a non-believing world, for a moment just long enough to lose ourselves in a place we love, but don’t visit often enough. I know you told yourself that you would get away from the computer this summer, and what better way than with a book?
I love books, if this much isn’t yet clear, my apologies. If you’re not a lover of books that’s okay, we don’t all love the same things, but surely your life is enriched by what can forever be held in that tiny space that expands so greatly between two cover pages. We know less now about our neighbors, about the people that make up our cities, the towns that make up our nation… and you might say, Well, it’s a global village, what do I care about where I live. But we can’t expect to lead fulfilling lives if we think we’re doing well having friends we never see nor speak words with, buy our clothes without trying them on or feeling the fabric, or purchase books recommended by computers from cardboard warehouses where the sun doesn’t shine. Someone you know writes and they may be amazing or getting better and they are doing it for you and everyone else you have never met. Amazon will recommend exactly what you weren’t looking for but must buy… so my question to you is this: when was the last time you held a conversation with someone who convincingly shared the astounding pleasure of experiencing a book? If you’re feeling a little lonely, lost, disconnected, in need of a new friend, cheerful, in mood for conversation, quiet, curious, hungry, sexy, weird, or bored then make a point of going to see Charlie and Jesse in Kensington Market, and buying a book, or ask the person next to you on the subway, in line, at the bank, on the street corner what the last good book they read was and surely whatever comes out of their mouth will teach you more about yourself, the people around you, and the world you live in.
A book might cost you an hour or two’s worth or work but it will pay back far more than that. That is the definition of an investment, and then you can trade it, lend it, or give it to someone you know that will really appreciate being on the inside of those pages with you. People around you struggle to write and record our world in new and challenging ways, others work to design and print that knowledge in increasingly accessible and pleasurable ways, while others stand ready and waiting to put this information into your hands. Find a local author, artist, publisher, or bookseller and give them your support now, somehow, in whatever way betters your life and those around you.
To donate to help keep This Ain’t the Rosedale Library get your pail-pal warmed up and go to:
I wrote this from the bottom of my heart, the top of my head, and every fiber that keeps me in this world.
Read on and share this link, please.