December 15, 2008

The Word Bookstore

The Word Bookstore, 469 rue Milton, Montreal

Last Friday was the Word's annual Christmas party, which seems like as good an occasion as any to offer my own little tribute to this amazing Montreal establishment.

I'd visited the Word a few times before I even moved to Montreal. A good friend of mine was doing her Ph.D. in philosophy at McGill, and while I was visiting we popped in a few times on our way to and from campus. I was always wowed by the stock and the conversations that people would be having in there.

After I moved to Montreal and started working at the philosophy department, it was usual to hear from Adrian (co-proprietor of the shop, along with his wife Luci) before the start of each term as he prepared his book orders, as a number of McGill profs put their required texts on order there. It was at last year's Christmas party that my friend Ian introduced me to Adrian, and it was wonderful to meet in person after so many years of business conversations on the phone. Ian has a really lovely essay about the store on the Vehicule Press website here.

Adrian and Luci and the Word were also profiled in the Montreal issue of The New Quarterly, in which I was lucky enough to have a story included. It's a fascinating little interview in which they talk about how they started the business (over 33 years ago!) as an underground bookstore (the only indication was a picture of George Bernard Shaw in the window) in their apartment on Milton before eventually taking over the Chinese laundry next door that remains their current location.

Although primarily a used bookstore (with a notably good selection at good prices), the Word's support of local authors is really tremendous, as evidenced by this display for my book, complete with poster and taped-up clipping of the Gazette review:

Too shy to go in while this display was up, I snapped this photo from outside.

Definitely the best bookstore in Montreal!

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