Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Victoria, BC

My delightful husband surprised me with a quick weekend trip to Victoria by clipper. We did not stay at the Empress Hotel (pictured above) because it's damn expensive, but isn't it the prettiest thing ever?

The thing about Victoria that surprised me was how many bookstores there were (bookshops, perhaps, as it was Canada.) I think, in walking about for the better part of two days, I saw something like eight bookstores, mostly new books only, but a couple mixed new and used, and a couple just used. The greatest of them has to be Russell Books, which claims to have new and used, but I think it's just that they special order new books, and maybe have a very few tucked away discretely in some odd nook. It was a massive, delightfully tightly packed, high shelved store of awesomeness. It's big enough that they've had to take over adjoining spaces, thus giving them three separate entrances into the place.

My main joy was the used scifi/fantasy section. I've been doing a good number of rereads, and there's one thing about them, which is that a lot of the books are out of print. Which means used book stores. But they can be hard to find. Most places, I mean. Not at Russell, where I found such a bonanza of books it was amazing. I had to just stop looking, because I was carrying everything home. I got five books, one of which, Dune, is readily in print, but I'd rather buy used because it's cheaper. But the others: well, a couple are in print, I think, but a couple are most definitely out of print, and it might be all four of them are. This was the sort of store, though, where I would catch sight of obscure books I read thirty years ago that almost certainly went out of print twenty eight years ago, and there would be two copies of the thing. So of course, I found almost all the books I was looking for. (They did miss out on having one book, which is still in print, and is very good, and so I can see why a used bookstore wouldn't have it. None of the other places I've looked have had it either, so I wasn't surprised.)

So I've got my next handful of rereads just waiting for me on the shelf, and I'm pretty excited. I can't say that I really fell in love with Victoria, but I did fall in love with Russell Books, and they ship free in the US for orders over 50 dollars, so I can still give them money without a problem, even across the border. That makes me happy.

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