My love of books should by now be very obvious to all my regular readers.
I make no bones about it….I am a serious bibliophile (hmm…sounds like an indecent word, doesn’t it!), and have been ever since I could read the alphabet aloud!
Even at school, when other kids were out playing football, or bashing each other’s heads and other schoolboy antics, I used to be reading my books if I could at all. I particularly loved those huge big books in the Time-Life series….they covered all kinds of wonderful subjects like science, geology, animals, etc and in those days when the internet was not even a dream in a boffins’ eye, I grew captivated by the written word and spectacular color photographs within those books.
So I kind of grew into books…it suited my temperament, as even at that age, I craved peace and quiet and loved my own company, which, unfortunately, I found to be detrimental later on in my teenage years, but that’s another story for another time…ladies beware!
But getting back to the point of this post, I walked past this tiny bookshop situated in the Strathcona neighborhood of Vancouver downtown eastside, and was instantly captivated by it.
Of course it helps that I love books, but once inside, it has that uncanny feeling you get in most bookshops that are run by Staff who themselves care for and love books…I guess it’s a kind of some sort of synergy effect given out maybe by he books and the people combined.
You get an immediate rush of that well-known aroma you find in bookshops as you walk in. And there is the peace and quiet as well….don’t you just love that?
Spartacus, as the place is called, is run on a non-profit basis, and is a collective, meaning that no single person owns it…instead, it’s run by several people, all of whom (please correct me if I’m wrong, you guys at Spartacus!) work there at selected hours on a voluntary basis.
There are several things I really like about this place which makes it absolutely unique, aside of the collective-ness…they have several computers inside at the rear of the shop, for use by absolutely anyone…that in itself is a first….I cannot for the life of me think of any shop that does that…..at the moment of writing, I was nt able to confirm whether or not the computers offer free internet access, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.
Then outside of the shop, there is a free telephone, again for use by anybody, and it’s available even when the shop is closed 24/7.
When I first saw it, my mind immediately thought what would happen if that were done in England, where vandalism is rife and out of control, with nobody having the courage to bring it into control, least of all the ploice….in Engalnd, anything like this would have been ripped off the wall long ago…
Bearing in mind that Spartacus is located within one of the poorest neighborhoods in the whole of Canada, a place where homelessness and substance abuse is rife, it just shows you that we should not always judge a book by it’s covers (no pun intended!)…something which I am always guilty of.
There is a good selection of books here, ranging from socialist dogma, religion, spirituality, humor, and a whole lot more besides.
The bookshop is rented on a lease and the rent is supported by the sale of books, with any profits being ploughed back to buy more stock.
Talking to one of the Staff members, I learnt that the shop will be moving from this location in June this year, as the building is due for refurbishment.
A beautiful bookshop, run by people for the people…do walk in if ever you are in the area! Remember, you heard it here first!