Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas in the Bookstore

It’s hard to write about Christmas without resorting to maudlin platitudes, crass commercialism, miserable complaints or childlike retarded cheer. The only good thing about writing about Christmas is that you’re certain to offend someone and it’s easy to pretend innocence as to why. But enough. Christmas at Beazley Books is like Martin Luther King Day in Moscow....subdued. No Christmas music, surreptitious drinking beginning at noon, and calm people (see: drinking beginning at noon).

I like Christmas in the bookstore because it’s easy to pretend it’s 1842. People come in with lists of names, not lists of gifts. They spend a lot of time looking for the right gift for Aunt Sophie who had very poor judgment in her youth and Uncle Norm who really should have known better last summer in Cuba. Sometimes people wake me up and ask for advice about what to get for a sibling or a friend but usually they know better and make their own mistakes. Some people stumble in from an afternoon of Christmas shopping and become disoriented. No music, no tinsel.

But there’s one evil even the bookstore strains to keep at bay: the It’s-For-A- Good-Cause people trolling for money (in 1842 they were called beggars and you were allowed to kick them). I keep a sharp machete on the counter to discourage them but some have religion and are drawn to martyrdom. I am not completely without a heart, however. If the spirit moves you this year, you can make a cash donation to: The Beazley Books Fund for the Enrichment of Beazlies.


  1. Suzie Clemens - KirklandDecember 23, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    Indigo seems to have more Christmas spirit. Who buys used books as Christmas gifts?

  2. I'm also collecting money for the Beazley Books Fund for people who Willfully Misunderstand Satire.

  3. Who gives used books for Christmas? Why those who perceive limitless value in the feel and smell of a book that has been read before, that is no longer available, or just has a quality that is gone from our massed produce world. In my case the older the book the better, in a way, for me it is like time machine.

  4. I agree with the ghastly lady above. You are a monster! And don’t hide behind satire, you satyr. Why would someone buy a used book for a Christmas present when one can buy the same book and pay four times more for it elsewhere? Anyway, I would much rather shop at a big box store than at a local family-owned store. Anyone can see that our quality of life in Canada has improved since big business retail has put all those repellent little local stores out of business. Good for you for speaking out, Lady Kirkland!
    - Gwendolyn Montrose, Duchess of Beaconsfield

  5. Frederick Pyssesmythe-HiggenbothamDecember 27, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Hmp-hmm. Ehem. I have been given a gift certificate to your store by a sadly deluded relative from the distaff side of the family. I do not want to use it because used books are for poor people, street vagrants, and 20-year-olds. Might I be able to exchange it for cash, which I can then spend at Le Panier or some other store in the *real* Pointe-Claire village (not on Cartier)?
    - Frederick Pyssesmythe-Higgenbotham, Baie-d'Urfé

  6. any post holiday book sales?

  7. Regarding the question about whether we're having a post holiday book sales: Yes, we're having a sale. If you buy three books, you get a fourth one free. If you buy over $100 worth of books, I'll smile and be pleasant.