Mark Jokinen’s Bookstore (George St. between King and Sherbrooke):
Gao Xingjian’s Soul Mountain, a semi-autobiographical novel about a man who gets a reprieve from his cancer diagnosis and then travels 15,000 kilometres into the rural Sichuan, is so filled with vignettes, folklore, history, and personal reminiscence that it is hard to put this book down. Its selling for $11. Also in stock is One Man’s Bible by the same author in hardcover ($20).
In the Nordic Lit. section is John Ajvide Lindquist’s touching and haunting vampire novel Let Me In ($9.50). The book has been adapted into several different successful films.
And while I couldn’t select any particular piece, the ‘Antiquarian’ section of old and antique books across from the register makes for a really fun browse.
Knotaknew Bookstore (George St. at Sherbrooke):
In the fiction section look for Life Of Pi author (and Trent alumnus) Yann Martel’s fascinating story. Or Beatrice And Virgil ($8.50), about a stuffed donkey and a stuffed monkey and their mysterious taxidermist keeper. You will also find Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs And Cocoa Puffs ($8.50) which is a collection of the author’s essays on contemporary American culture.
Yasmina Khadra, (penname of Algerian author Mohammed Moulessehoul) sets his novel the Swallows Of Kabul in Afghanistan under the reign of the Taliban to explore the causes and consequences of religious fanaticism ($6.95).
Scholar’s Bookstore (Water St. between Simcoe and Hunter):
Michael Cunningham’s The Hours ($8.95) is fantastic re-telling of the suicide of Virgina Woolf through the stories of two later readers: a contemporary poet dying of AIDS in New York, and a post Second World War era mother who can no longer withstand the confines of a ‘good home’.
Douglas Coupland’s Hey Nostradamus ($8.95) sits almost right below The Hours, and just one shelf over is local author Kate Story’s Newfoundland-set Blasted ($8.95) giving readers a lot choose from in this single fiction section.
Books and Things (Water St. between Simcoe and Hunter):
The original Phantom Of the Opera as told by Gaston Leroux is in paperback form for ($4). Search through the literature section under ‘S’ and find Scenes From Another Day: New South African Writing, a collection of bold and contemporary poetry from that country for only ($2).
Soviet Short Stories is a really interesting looking collection of short fiction from the Soviet Union featuring works by Zamyatin (We), Boris Pasternak (Dr. Zhivago), and Odessan author Isaac Babel ($5).
Thea’s Books and Violins (Water St. between Simcoe and Hunter):
Ignazio’s Bread and Wine, written while the author was in exile from Mussolini’s Italy, is available for ($5) in multiple editions.
There’s a really great-looking old hardcover book entitled World Prose sitting in the ‘foreign languages in translation’ selection that really covers a lot of extensive ground. Although it only goes up to the early 20th century in terms of recency it’s the kind of book that just longs to be put on a shelf ($15).
You’ll also find The Pocketbook of Ogden Nash for ($8), making a nice introduction to the famed American poet and humourist.
Dixon’s Book Store (Water St. between Simcoe and Hunter):
In Dixon’s horror section is a book called Urban Horror and while priced ($3.25) and looking like an otherwise non-descript pulpy theme collection of horror fiction, the collection actually contains a wide variety of genre fiction luminaries including Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Fritz Leiber, John Cheever and more.
In the Classics section you’ll find Sir Frederick K. Treves’ The Elephant Man, about both John Merrick and his own morbid recollections as a medical practitioner of his day ($2.95).
Finally, in the Can Lit. section look for Frederick Phillip Groves’ The Settlers On The Marsh ($4.50). This novel’s main focus is a Swedish man who emigrates to Manitoba determined to build a life for himself. It is a stirring and tragic exploration of settler consciousness.