Grant Evans in his study, with View from the Tower

Travelling books/used bookstores/Alert Bay BC

Facebooktwittermail

Do you ever wonder what happens to books after you’ve taken them to a used bookstore?

One of the books I was selling at our local Christmas craft fair, was my partner Grant’s revised 2019 edition of his memoir of his air traffic controller days on north Vancouver Island in the 1960’s. (The revised book has new anecdotes and a different coloured cover.)  A young couple browsing my table, recognized it as similar to the book they had purchased from a small used bookstore/museum up island. My daughter was speaking to the couple, I wasn’t there, but they told her that they read it while camping and loved it.

I was curious, a used bookstore and museum, all in one, it sounded familiar but where was it? And how did one of Grant’s books end up there? Then I remembered visiting a bookstore in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island off northern Vancouver Island. Grant and I were in Port Hardy in 2016 for the launch of the first edition of View from the Tower held at the Port Hardy Museum. We stayed in the area for a few days and on one of those days we took the ferry to Alert Bay.

Alert Bay Public Library and Museum, Visitor Centre
Alert Bay Public Library and Museum

I had recalled a bookstore and museum from an even earlier trip and I planned to take in a few copies of Grant’s View from the Tower. We drove along the beach road from the ferry looking for the building; weaving our way past the fleet of buses parked on the side of the road; gawking at the brightly coloured cottages that lined the narrow road; finally recognizing the rambling wooden museum and bookstore perched over the water.

Alert Bay painted houses
Alert Bay painted houses
Alert Bay buses

Books in hand I opened the old wooden door, the bell above the door jamb jingled merrily. Suddenly I had a clear memory of my previous visit. The same smiling, gracious woman, Joyce Wilby, was behind the desk to my right; and ahead of me, I swear the same man was sitting at the same desk hunched over his papers under an ancient lamp. He had showed me around the rabbit warren of cubby holes and displays that made up the archives of the museum when I was there before and I surprised him by greeting him like an old friend. I felt like I had known Joyce for an age too, we could be friends I thought, kindred spirits even. She readily bought a copy of View from the Tower for the lending library and two more books for her gift store, which was separate from her used bookstore.

Joyce had started the Lending Library as a Centennial project in 1957, took a librarian course and as well as owning the bookstore, has been the managing librarian and archivist of the Alert Bay Museum and Lending Library ever since. This energetic, knowledgeable woman had just turned ninety years old in 2016 and at this writing is still at her beloved bookstore/museum and enjoying every day.

I, of course found a book or two to buy from her used section, then I just had to prop a copy of Grant’s book on the window ledge outside Joyce’s museum store and take a photo which required that I stand in the middle of the road between the dribs and drabs of slow moving vehicles.

Alert Bay museum with Grant Evan's book in the window
Alert Bay museum with Grant Evan’s book in the window

I would love to know if that young couple who had come to my book sale at the Christmas craft fair, had bought View from the Tower from Joyce Wilby’s used bookstore and what they did with it after they read it. Is it still travelling around the second hand bookstore circuit?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if books could talk?

Grant Evans in Alert Bay
Grant Evans in Alert Bay
Facebooktwittermail
Grant Evans with View From The Tower

Books for Sale

FacebooktwittermailWe have our books. 200 wonderful lovely books printed two days before Christmas. We dashed down island over the Malahat through fog and rain and almost snow to First Choice Books in Victoria and picked up Grant’s copies of View From The Tower. We were able to fill the almost 20 pre-orders before Christmas.

Yesterday, we placed copies of View From The Tower at Amy Jo’s Cafe by the Crofton ferry terminal to Salt Spring Island.

VIEW FROM THE TOWER at cafe

Ashley Harris receiving Grant’s books before she serves our coffee and muffins.

It is a new year and a new look at our local coffee shop. When we took Grant’s books in today we noticed that they had redecorated over the holidays and the wall colour matched the cover of Grant’s new book perfectly! Amy Jo and her daughter Ashley have a section featuring local authors and View From The Tower is well placed among these authors. The cafe is a popular spot for tourists and locals to buy the local art work, hand crafts and books on display.

 

local artist Beckie and Vicki buying VIEW FROM THE TOWER

Local artist Beckie Hutchinson and Vicki Halme buying copies of View From The Tower from Amy Jo’s.

Copies of View From The Tower are also for sale at Volume One Books on Kenneth Street in Duncan as well as directly from our web site.

Next step is to place the books at our local and up island museums and, taking a tip from the late Joe Garner, “Never Fly Over an Eagles Nest”, we are keeping a box of books to sell in the trunk of the car. We sold our first one of 2016 to my sister outside the Cowichan Bay Pub where we had just had lunch. We had given her one already for a Christmas gift and she asked if we had more.

“Oh yes”, we said and whipped up the hatch back of our car and did a quick sales deal. So stop us on the street if you want to buy…we have books.

This has been a great start to our new year. I love writing and selling, so it is a great package all around.

 Facebooktwittermail

Prayer flags in November

November – Off to the publisher

FacebooktwittermailNovember is my least favourite month. Even though I am a west coast girl and don’t mind the rain, this gray, cold, eternal downpour is depressing. The south east winds are gusting and rocking my bird feeders. One lone black capped chickadee protected by the roof of the feeder is diligently pecking at the seeds. A prayer flag hung nearby startles with its splash of bright yellow and red. On my porch, small mauve pansies bloom in pots already plumped with daffodils waiting for spring. There is hope.

And in the warmth of our home we celebrate Grant’s accomplishment in finalizing his west coast aviation memoirs. View From The Tower is at the publishers now and will be available soon on this web page and at Volume One Books in Duncan.

All is well.Facebooktwittermail