Friday, February 26, 2010

Volume II Bookstore, Ganges

Volume II Bookstore in Ganges, Salt Spring Island is best described as a unique boutique bookstore. It's charm is in the selection. The owners are definitely erudite. One has the suspicion that they've read all that's in the store and only are selling their treasures so they can buy some more.

We chatted with this delightful woman who not only knew Natalie Goldberg's, Writing Down the Bone but as easily waxed poetic about the WestCoast Classic, "Curve of Time".

In Curve of Time,written in 1927, Muriel Wylie Blanchet, widowed, takes her 5 children in a 25 foot boat cruising the coastal waters of British Columbia. It was one of the books that so inspired my early years living aboard GIRI travelling in her wake.

A new book, Following the Curve of Time, has been written by Converse attempting to follow up on Blanchet's life. Naturally I compared this to Zen and Now, the Richardardson retrospective of the Pirsig's classic, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

The beautiful grey haired bookseller lady following on our discussion of retrospectives, told us, "Martin Scorsese has done some amazing retrospectives that are aired occasionally on PBS. He did this one on Dylan showing Joan Biaz and him. They were just children then. I was in the 60's and it was only seeing these retrospectives that I realized how I'd grown older."

Betty Hill, the Volume II Bookstore owner knows the tastes of the customers offering a profound choice of all that a tourist or a local or a visiting Canadiana academic might want. William Deverell's books are showcased alongside organic island gardening treasures.

When I told her I was buying the Bernard Shaw play to read aloud with friends one night , she told me that "they have a group that does that on Salt Spring Island. In fact, they have a group for most everything literary on Salt Spring." That certainly reminded me of when I lived in Marin County, California.

Buying the latest Jack Higgins, "Rough Justice", naturally brought up the recent death of Dick Francis. "I think his son will continue his legacy. He co authored his last three books." She said.

"My husband and I read some of the same books and it's a race who gets to read them first." she shared when Laura told her that she and I were avid Harlan Coban fans. "

"Harlan's obviously having too much fun with royaltiesand not writing enough because of it," I said, "He's like my other of my favourite writer, William Gibson. They "owe" us more books and that makes a case for starving artists. Doystoevsky would never have written, The Gambler, were he not in debt himself."

The store and the owner, the books, the ambience, all conspired to make our visit there a truly pleasant "bookstore" experience.

Leaving I told Laura, "I've been coming here off and on now over 20 years. I used to dock on the pubic dock outside there and tie up my dog Shinto when I'd go inside." I remembered first Shinto and later Stuart's excursion up those docks and their waits outside the bookstore for me.

"I really liked that bookstore. It felt wholesome," Laura said as we walked across town to the Salt Spring Island coffeeshop. We could hardly wait for our chai latte's, wanting so much to take a 'peek' into our latest bookstore 'finds'.

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