Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Better planning. . .

. . . would have got me new glasses today. Instead, I have to postpone things because the optometrist's office I usually just drop in to is booked until next week. Woops.

That did give me an excuse to check out a couple of used bookstores on Yonge, one I'd never been to (NDJ) and one I hadn't been to in a while (Eliot's).

NDJ was a revelation. I'd always passed it by because it looked too small and chaotic, not worth the while when Eliot's was just up the street. I was wrong. After reading a favourable review on BlogTO, I knew I'd have to pop in. While the selection isn't earth-shattering, the trip is worth it just for the chance to talk with the owner, Nebojsa Knezic. A serb from Sarajevo, he immigrated to Canada after the war in the early 90's and opened a bookstore.

Every once in a while, you meet a thoroughly interesting person, someone you could talk to for hours and not get bored. This was one of those meetings. From books to travel to the serbian language, we had a wide ranging conversation that was the perfect antidote to the dreary day outside.

On his recommendation, I picked up Joseph Heller's Picture This. I'd read Catch-22 years ago but had never gotten around to any of his other novels. Apparently, this is a source of frustration for Nebojsa as he always has people who come in looking for the one big novel by a writer - Catch-22, The Great Gatsby, etc. - while ignoring the rest of the writer's output. He has a point, I guess.

Eliot's was good, as usual, though there was nothing terribly interesting. It was just nice to poke about for a bit in a store that is 3 levels of floor to ceiling books.

Well, I'm back home and I've just brewed a pot of tea. I think I will step away from the computer and try to put a dent in my TBR pile.


John Mutford said...

Sounds like a great day. Knezic's point was my point exactly when I created the Obscure Challenge but it didn't seem to catch on. I'm not sure if I just didn't explain the premise well or people just weren't interested.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

The RO and I hit one of our favourite used bookstores yesterday as well (right next door to the only decent video store in town), and she too picked up a Joseph Heller (Closing Time) in addition to a pile of others.

Although the clerk was friendly, we did not have the scintillating conversation that you had with Nebojsa.